By Rev Don Rivers
We have closed out the season and our champions have been crowned. We all competed but only one champion can be crowned; only one wins the race but everyone competes for that prize. How have we been running our race? Have we run in such a way as to win? Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
To be crowned a champion means that you have what it takes to persevere through the long racing season. On the Whelen Modified Tour, Justin Bonsignore picked up the third Whelen Modified Tour Championship. Ken Massa, who has fielded the #51 for Justin since 2009, enjoys his third Whelen Modified Tour Championship as owner.
Sammy Smith, sharing time in the #18 with Ty Gibbs, and the team at Joe Gibbs Racing won the ARCA East Championship with a sweep. The driver didn’t matter; the #18 Joe Gibbs Racing entry won every race on the schedule. They have proved over and over they have what it takes to run the race in such a way as to win.
These drivers and teams have shown us that they know how to run the race. They take the proper steps to prepare for the race. They compete with a focus on the prize, victory. They run the race in such a way as to win. Does that mean everyone else doesn’t?
Each team has the desire to win, they want to win, but what separates the ones that win from those who don’t? Many things factor into winning the race, equipment, experience, preparedness, focus, etc. Only those who make the commitment to winning can claim the prize. It is a rare occurrence that an ill prepared team wins. Their lack of preparedness usually shows up when the race is run.
I know there are some discrepancies in the amount of resources available to the teams. But the field being level what separates the winners from the losers? This is the question everyone wants to answer.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27; Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
The key to winning the race comes in the preparation. Winning the race means preparing properly. Disciplining ourselves to be prepared for the race is the key to winning. If we do not go into strict training, we cannot hope to win the prize.
I have seen the cars of the champions and how they look when they arrive at the track and are rolled out of the hauler. They are prepared to race. As Paul says they do not run aimlessly but they are focused on the prize. They have a focus that transcends the distractions.
I remember a conversation I had once with a crew chief after a race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, NHMS. He shared that they were close to finding the right combination to be able to win. He said there are so many combinations, finding the right one would take some work. He shared that they would not stop trying to find the right combination. The next time out at NHMS they found that combination and won the race.
They won because they focused on working hard to find the right setup. They didn’t get distracted or spend their time on things that were not profitable. Their goal was to win the race and that was what they did.
We can apply that to our lives and our walk with God. What Paul is saying here is; to run the race God has set out for us we need to go into training. We need to learn how God wants us to think and behave. That only comes from practice. We have to be in God’s Word, we have to be in conversation with Him. We have to know and understand the ways of God and we must be able to figure out what is of God and what is not.
Think about why we have practice before the race, we have to test things and make sure we have the right setup for the conditions of race day. We need to make sure we know what works and what doesn’t. Each day has its own conditions. The same is true in each of our lives; we need to make sure we are prepared for each day, prepared for the challenges that will come. We need to read God’s word, talk with him and turn to Him for guidance and direction.
Romans 12:2; Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.
A transformation process needs to take place. Our life needs to be changed. We need to train and practice. That means studying God’s word, the Bible. That means living God’s way. To run the race in such a way as to win means committing our life to God, committing to know Him, His Word and living in a way that will honor Him. Then we qualify for the prize and discover the blessings of God.
How are we doing? Are we ready to go into training for the prize that will not fade or tarnish? If not, I encourage you to start today. We will only see the blessings God has for us when we run the race in such a way as to win. Let’s commit to one another to do that. Let’s commit to hold each other accountable to that decision. Let’s train together to be qualified for the prize. As Paul wrote to Timothy as his race came to an end;
2Timothy 4:6-8; For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.
Let us fight the good fight, finish the race and keep the faith. Let us strive to qualify for the championship, a crown of righteousness.
Until next time, remember God loves you and Jesus is Lord over Auto Racing! God Bless. Remember, that your prayerful support and donations helps us continue this ministry. Thank You.