By Rev. Don Rivers

With the banquet comes the close of the season. 2019 is in the books. What has transpired on the track has been photographed and recorded. We look forward to the season with goals, hopes, dreams; some realized, some not, times up. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

As we sit down to our Holiday table, no matter how extensive or intimate, our tendency is to look back, thinking of the time that has passed. Some of those thoughts can bring a smile to our face, a laugh and a sense of thanksgiving to our heart. Some bring disappointment, lament, and sadness. Very few are met with complacency, a take it or leave it attitude. We tend not to reflect on the things that don’t stir our emotions.

When we gather together at this time of the year it is one of reflection and anticipation. The calendar reminds us that soon we will turn the page. We reflect on the milestones of the journey, they mark the times we have experienced, some foreseen, others a result of circumstances and choices. Over our shoulder the steps along the road, each marking the path of our journey melted in to our memory shaping who we have become. Some leave a sweet and savory taste of anticipated achievements others a result of choices and consequences. Forward we look with anticipation of what the future holds.

One particular moving part of the NASCAR Banquet celebration caught me off guard this year; In Remembrance. Too many, too close, too significant. I reflected on each one, how had their lives touched mine. How had their families dealt with the loss? I prayed for God’s comfort, grace and mercy to surround them through this holiday season. As the song played, Nobody Knows by the Lumineers, the words struck me; nobody knows

“Nobody knows how the story ends. Live today, do what you can, this is only where it began, nobody knows how the story ends.”

Today we have to begin the stories that will become the memories of tomorrow. We need to grasp that, hold tightly to the opportunity that time affords to do what we can, not what we want, but what we can to make a difference in the lives of those around us.

Value is determined by rarity. When we are young the days ahead are many, wasting the time away is easy, there is so much more life left, we struggle to grasp the finality of life. As time moves we begin to notice its propensity to keep moving, not stopping, never standing still. Soon we realize it is gone. Our day have numbers, time is precious, the value of which is realized when it is gone.

James4:13-17NLT; “Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.” How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” Otherwise you are boasting about your own pretentious plans, and all such boasting is evil. Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.”

We are reminded by Dickens in A Christmas Carol, of the twin thieves that rob us of time, ignorance and want. They consume our time with endeavors that make only a difference for us. Mankind is our business. We should be about the consideration of others and invest our time accordingly. The Golden Rule reminds us;

Matthew7:12NLT; ““Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.”

We are fond of planning for tomorrow, looking ahead to the things we are going to do, the places we will go. Oh the plans we make. Truth be told it is in those moments when we lose sight of what is truly important, today, here, now.

We can get so caught up in life that we forget to live. We forget to look around and see the lives of others. We can be so focused on tomorrow that we forget that today is all we can count on and really it is just this moment in time. We expend so much effort trying to secure the future we overlook the opportunities we have to change the lives of those around us each day.  Maybe an adjustment is in order?

We need remember the people we have met, the places we have been, the times that have touched our heart, and cherish those memories. Without words we can communicate the value of others. We do that by choosing to be together, spending time. One of our greatest gifts we can give is our time. Worrying about tomorrow isn’t something that is beneficial to our lives. We need to take the time we have today and use it, spend time with those around us.

As Hastings wrote in his poem The Station; So, stop pacing the aisles and counting the miles. Instead, climb more mountains, eat more ice cream, go barefoot oftener, swim more rivers, watch more sunsets, laugh more and cry less. Life must be lived as we go along. The station (end) will come soon enough.

Our lives need to reflect the character of the Holy Spirit; love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Not the ways of the world; hatred, discord, jealousy, rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy. If we choose to live in the way of the world have no hope of seeing things through the eyes of God.

The choice is ours. As we remember we should reflect on how we are living. How have our choices helped or hurt those around us? We can decide to live differently. We can let life pass without having any effect on us or we take this moment to inspire us to see things differently. I encourage you to slow down, look around, let the lives of others touch your heart, and then touch theirs.

Until next time, remember God loves you and Jesus is Lord over Auto Racing! God Bless. Remember, that your prayerful support helps us continue this ministry. Thank You.

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