Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Faith on the Frontstretch: Who would you thank first in Victory Lane?

Matt Kenseth celebrates in VictoryLane with his family and crew
Credit: John Harrelson/Getty Images  
“...and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12:1b

Victory Lane is a busy place with a lot happening in just a few moments.

The driver pulls his car into the designated spot, surrounded by photographers and his team members. Then he waits inside the cockpit for a moment, catching his breath and toweling off his face, until the broadcast is ready to film him climbing out of the car. He raises his arms and whoops, splashes a beverage to and fro, and jumps down beside Miss Sprint Cup for a live interview.

It would be easy for a driver to get caught up in the moment and simply revel in the victory, wouldn’t it?

Drivers know when they speak into that microphone they need to thank certain people. Sponsors, team owners, sponsors, their crew, sponsors, the guys back at the shop, sponsors.

But once in a while a driver thanks someone else, too.

When Matt Kenseth won the Sprint Cup race at Kansas this past weekend, he did the usual burnout and wheeled it over to Victory Lane. Realizing he had won two of the past three Chase races in his final season with Roush-Fenway, Kenseth was understandably emotional. But do you remember who he thanked first during his television interview?

"I really got to thank God (for) all the opportunities that He's put in front me and all the guidance that He's given me through pretty much my whole life, not just all this going on," Kenseth said.

In the emotion of the moment, with adrenaline pumping and confetti sticking to his face, Kenseth remembered Who was ultimately responsible for the blessing of winning that race. And he acknowledged God first, just as easily and naturally as he recognized the racing personnel who contributed to the win.

Kenseth’s words show his reliance on God. He gave God credit not only for the Kansas win, but also for other good things in his life. That gratitude, freely offered, was an outward expression of his personal faith.

When something good happens is a person’s life, and his thoughts immediately turn to God, it’s a sign of spiritual maturity. And when people make a habit of being dependent on God for help and guidance on a daily basis, talking freely about Him becomes second nature.

How can we get to the place where it’s natural to talk about God and when something good happens, we automatically thank Him first?

Take a step toward God by spending more time with Him. Read the Bible. Talk to Him. Go to church and worship Him. Hang out with other believers. Talk about God in your home.

These things sound simple and obvious, but it’s easy to get away from doing them and not even realize it.

In a month the Chase will be over and we’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving. Why not spend some time doing things to strengthen your relationship with God now? The next time you’re in Victory Lane, you can be the one to thank God first.

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
~ Colossians 2:6-7

Want more racing devotions? When you donate $25 or more to Skirts and Scuffs, we’ll send you a complimentary copy of Beth’s book, Race Fans’ Devotions to Go, a month-long, pocket-sized devotional book for female racing fans.

“Faith on the Frontstretch” appears every 1st & 3rd Wednesday and explores the role of faith in motorsports. Beth also writes “Gibbs Garage,” Sprint Cup race recaps for Joe Gibbs Racing teams. Comments or twitter follows welcome: @bbreinke. See you on the Frontstretch!


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