Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Faith on the Frontstretch: Like a Martinsville Grandfather Clock, “Tick-Tock” Goes the Race of Life

Kyle Busch celebrates at Martinsville with his second grandfather clock of the weekend, April 3, 2016.
Credit: Sean Gardner / NASCAR via Getty Images     
By Beth Reinke

“ ... and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” ~ Hebrews 12:1b


After sweeping last weekend’s Truck and Sprint Cup races at Martinsville – his first career wins at the short track -- Kyle Busch owns two new grandfather clocks. The unique trophy from the Virginia track may be the most esteemed and sought-after treasure on the NASCAR circuit. During Sunday’s post-race press conference, Busch fielded questions about where the clocks would be displayed in his home and how they would fit into his wife’s interior décor.

“Where they're going to go, I don't know yet,” he said. “Maybe one on the main floor, maybe one on the other floor. I've got to get them in sync though, so they go off at the same time so you're not hearing these weird noises throughout the house. But a good problem to have.”

Every time the clocks chime, whether they’re synchronized or not, the Buschs will be reminded of the wins. But the thing about clocks is, they only display the time – they don’t control it. The tall timepieces can’t take Busch back to the finish line or his frontstretch burnouts or Victory Lane. Those special moments are in the past. The clocks themselves just stand firm, steadily tick-tocking away the seconds and minutes. They don’t run faster or slower than they did an hour ago or yesterday.

Busch, on the other hand, likes to run at only one speed: fast. He thinks having to rein himself in and hold back on speed is why it took him so long to win at the Paper Clip.

“I think the biggest thing about Martinsville is the amount of off throttle time that you have here is greater than the amount of time on throttle,” Busch said. “You're trying to go fast, but you're trying to do it while slowing down. I've never been very good at slowing down.”

Don’t you love that line? “I've never been very good at slowing down.” It’s a rare NASCAR driver who enjoys holding back.

You know what else isn’t good at slowing down? Time. As the grandfather clock tick-tocks along, time keeps racing forward, with bits of life morphing into memories almost faster than we’re able to experience them. Ask any grandparent or a parent of teenagers whether life is zipping by too fast and the answer will be a resounding yes!  

When a driver is tick-tocking forward under a green flag, he has a singular focus – this moment, this lap, this race. He’s not thinking about the next day or the next race. He’s just “getting it done” today, which is more than enough to handle. Drivers concentrate on now.

Focusing on today is enough for you and me, too. That’s why Jesus advised us not to worry about tomorrow, but to take care of what we need to do today (Matt. 6:34).

On the other hand, God isn’t limited by the confines of time. He sees our lives like one of those number lines we used in elementary school math – from start to finish – all at once. In fact, God knew Kyle Busch would sweep the Martinsville race weekend in April 2016 before the driver was even born.

God knows that we have all we can manage with the single race day we’re living in. So He doesn’t overwhelm us with handling the whole race weekend or the entire season at once. He blesses us with one day at a time. Just today.

How we use this moment we’re in -- day after day -- determines what we accomplish and what good works we do for Him. Like a grandfather clock is an artisan’s craftsmanship, YOU are God’s masterpiece, created to do good works He planned especially for you before you were even born.

Missing any of those God-given assignments would be a shame. What will you do for Him today? Time’s a tick-tocking -- better get to it!

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.    ~ Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)
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“Faith on the Frontstretch” explores the role of faith in motorsports and runs every 1st & 3rd Wednesday of the month during the NASCAR season. Follow Beth on twitter at @bbreinke.

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 NASCAR fans. Or you can purchase the book in paperback & ebook here.

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