Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Faith on the Frontstretch: From sacrificing a racecar to giving it all

The No. 11 car of Denny Hamlin at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Sept., 2, 2013
Credit: Charlotte Bray for Skirts and Scuffs  
“ ... and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12:1b

Did you know non-Chasers sometimes give their best cars to teammates who are running for the championship? Denny Hamlin talked about it this week.

In a USA Today article, Hamlin admitted he readily accepts the notion of handing over the best racecars to Matt Kenseth and Kyle Busch, cars he might have driven himself if he made the Chase. He said it’s just how things work and is part of being a good teammate. Plus, in the end, if one of his teammates wins the Sprint Cup, his sacrifice will benefit the whole Joe Gibbs Racing organization, including the No. 11 team.

Making a sacrifice for someone else is rarely fun, but it’s often necessary for getting along in life. It is part of the give-and-take tango that fuels human relationships and keeps the gears of industries and empires running. One person’s sacrifice often benefits others, like Hamlin's benefits his teammates.

Military families know about sacrifice on a visceral, pray-without-ceasing level. Spouses and kids at home sacrifice months and years of family togetherness, and live with the continual threat of loss. Men and women in uniform give up the comforts of family and home for long stretches, to protect people they don’t even know, like you and me.

The kind of sacrifices made by military personnel, firefighters, police officers and rescue workers are something many of us can’t comprehend. They serve knowing they may be called to pay the ultimate price, and sadly, some do.

That’s the “laying down your life for a friend” kind of sacrifice. That kind of sacrifice makes giving up racecars for teammates seem trivial, doesn’t it?

Back in biblical times, there was a different kind of sacrifice which seems foreign and disturbing to us now. They killed animals, often lambs, as an offering to God, so He would forgive their sins. It was a symbolic gesture, with the animal serving as a substitute, taking the punishment for the sins of people.

Thankfully, because Jesus died to make amends for our sins, there is no need for animal sacrifices anymore. Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice. And He was the ultimate sacrifice. That’s why He is called the Lamb of God.

The sacrifice Jesus made benefits us in amazing ways. Here’s a little background information to show how God loves to speak to us using symbolism:

In the temple, there was a special place where the presence of God dwelled. It was called the Holy of Holies and only the high priest could go in there. The Holy of Holies was hidden behind a huge curtain, a barrier to keep everyone else out.

At the moment when Jesus died on the cross, the heavy curtain fell apart (Matthew 27:50-51.) It ripped from top to bottom, as if God reached down and tore the thick fabric like a piece of tissue paper.


Why did God do that? To show that because Jesus died, there’s no longer any barrier between us and Him. The curtain is hanging wide open. Priests don’t have to talk to Him for us anymore. We have access to God 24/7. Jesus did that, my friend. He made that sacrifice for you.

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. ~ John 15:13
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“Faith on the Frontstretch” appears every 1st & 3rd Wednesday and explores the role of faith in motorsports. Comments or twitter follows welcome: @bbreinke. See you on the Frontstretch!

Want more racing devotions? When you donate $25 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.

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