Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Faith on the Frontstretch: Splash-Filled Event Showcases Justin Marks’ Unique Racing Skills

Justin Marks racing in the rain at Mid-Ohio, August 13, 2016.
Credit: Jonathan Moore / Getty Images.  
“ ... and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”   ~ Hebrews 12:1b

If you missed the NASCAR Xfinity race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Saturday, you missed a slipping-and-sliding, splash-filled ruckus rarely seen in the sport. Justin Marks outmaneuvered the field to lead a race-high 43 laps and waded through to his first win in 25 Xfinity starts.

“Stock car racing in the rain is just sort of my thing, and I just don’t have a lot of opportunities in my career and my life to be able to do it,” Marks told the media after the event. “Today, it was just a perfect day for me to just kind of do what I’m good at. It’s pretty cool to get a win in the Xfinity Series.”

Performing in a downpour seems to be Marks’ special niche. He’s raced other types of cars in the rain, including Porsches and BMWs, and since most current NASCAR drivers don’t often compete in the rain, he had a little something special they didn’t.

“We did a lot of rain racing, so I have a lot of races under my belt in the rain, and there’s a very unique style to racing in the rain,” Marks said. “I have more experience probably than anybody in the field, except for maybe Andy Lally, at racing in the rain.

“It’s a very unique skill set and a specialty to be able to go fast in the rain.”

Not everyone has the rare expertise of controlling a racecar on wet pavement, but we all have talents and skills.

If you’re a believer, in addition to talents you also have a special ability, called a spiritual gift, that’s bestowed upon you when you accept Jesus into your heart. Your mission is to use your spiritual gift to bless others.

There are a number of these gifts outlined in Scripture in Romans 12, including service, teaching, encouragement, giving, leadership, mercy and hospitality. The gifts provide special affinities for certain kinds of activities.

When you’re involved in undertakings where you can use your gift, you’ll feel a sense of fulfillment, as if you’re connecting with your purpose and with God. For example, if you have the gift of encouragement, lifting the morale of someone who’s feeling down brings you great joy.

If you feel a little clueless about spiritual gifts, you’re not alone. Identifying your spiritual gift can take a little bit of detective work. So, to pinpoint your gift, ask yourself a couple of questions. What kinds of activities bring you joy? What makes you feel fulfilled? If it’s helping someone learn a new concept, maybe your gift is teaching. If you’re thrilled when you can help relieve someone’s suffering, your gift may be mercy.

You may help others by combining your spiritual gift with a talent, such as the gift of hospitality paired with a knack for cooking or baking. You might have the gift of giving, and show it by knitting hats and scarves for the homeless folks in your town. Or if you’re skilled at doing yard work, you might use your gift of service to mow grass or trim shrubs for neighbors who are sick or elderly.

If you’ve mulled it over and still aren’t sure about your spiritual gift, don’t give up. It may take some trial and error to uncover it. Try serving in different capacities at your church or a charity. When you feel the joy, you’ll know you’re on the right track.

Each of you should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.    ~ 1 Peter 4:10 (NIV)

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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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