By Rev Don Rivers
As we reflect on the lives that touch ours and remember what it means to have someone care about us, my thoughts turn to my father. I wondered how many of us have a passion for something because our father put it there. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
My first visit to a racetrack was in the 60’s. My dad brought me to Stafford Motor Speedway. I was your typical seven-year-old, I didn’t sit still, wanted everything the concession stand had to offer and watching the racing was secondary. However, I do remember being entranced by the cars, the noise and the speed. I was hooked, I wanted to come back.
To this day, I still get that feeling in my stomach when I approach a racetrack. Sometimes it just takes a sign that states one is nearby. I remember the excitement like it was the first time. Even though I attend Stafford’s Friday night races many times every season; that feeling is still there. I hope I never lose it. Thanks dad.
I remember the race that cemented my passion for racing. One summer night a few years later at Catamount Stadium in Milton, Vermont. We were on vacation visiting relatives and the idea came to go to the races. I was in. We sat at the exit of the fourth turn, where the action was! Bobby Dragon and Canada’s Jean-Paul Cabana dueled for the entire feature. As they came to the checkered flag, out of turn four, one car erupted in flames. They rolled to a stop in the grass, just passed the start/finish line, the other driver was halfway out of his car with a fire extinguisher in his hand to help the driver he just fought tooth and nail with for the win. What a show of respect, of sportsmanship.
Things are different today, drivers seem to have lost respect for one another, for their cars and for the families behind the driver. That breaks my heart. My dad taught me respect, he instilled in me to have respect for everyone, treat people like they matter and give more effort than is expected. Thanks dad.
The part that really hooked me though was when the night was finished, we went through the gate at the start/finish line and walked into the pits. I had a chance to see the drivers and their cars up close and personal. I was in awe; these guys were larger than life and that night left an impression that has fueled my feeling about racing to this day.
I have my father to thank for that. My dad didn’t live too long, he passed away when I was fifteen, but during the time we had together he taught me a tremendous amount about life and how to live it. I think every parent only wants that opportunity, the opportunity to pass on their passion to their children. We want to teach them what and how this life should be lived.
I wonder how your dad touched your life. I look at the names of the drivers and I see the Jr.’s after many names. Each one is there to honor the dad that blazed the trail and imparted on his son the passion to race. There is at least one cheering for them, dad.
As I said before my dad passed away when I was fifteen but that doesn’t stop him from being an influence in my life. Much of who I am and how I view things I learned from him. I know he didn’t always do things right but he was always my dad.
I also have a heavenly Father. I remember how many times Jesus referred to his father, my Father in heaven. Jesus wasn’t out there alone; his father was there for him. There would however come a time when Jesus would leave this earth and turn the ministry over to the men he trained, much like sons. As he talked with His disciples about His upcoming departure, He provided them words of assurance and direction.
John 14:1-6, “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.”
Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?”
Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.
Jesus is preparing a place for us in His Father’s house, Heaven. He will come and claim what belongs to Him and we will live there with Him for eternity. That is the promise of our Father in Heaven.
We do not have to live separated from our heavenly Father. We know the way; Jesus Christ. Let Jesus instill a passion in your heart for living in a way that would please your heavenly Father. Jesus is that way, that truth, that life.
Luke 15:20-24; NLT; “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. 21 His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son’
“But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet.And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.
There is always room at home, no matter how many children, spouses, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, extended family and the like come home. We open our earthly home much the same way our Heavenly Father opens his home, heaven, to us. Jesus has prepared a place for us; we need only accept the invitation to come home.
Remember the man who you call dad this week. Thank him for the passion he put in your heart for the things you love. Also remember your Heavenly Father and the place he has for you. Turn to him to get you through the days ahead. Trust Him with your very life.
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.