Sunday, March 06, 2011

Drag Racing

Photo by mpmf59 via
Two lanes. Two cars. Two drivers. One starting signal One finish line. One winner. One prize.

Drag racing. What is it about this type of event that draws the attention of thousands of people? Is it the head-to-head competitive nature? The adrenaline rush of pushing the pedal to the metal in hopes of coming out victorious? Is it the prize itself, whether it’s the pink slip to the other car, getting the girl, or bragging rights to defend your title for another day?

Let me be clear. I am not an advocate of drag racing, mostly because of the dangers of the sport. Even in a controlled environment, the risks are very high. But this post is not about feeding one’s need for speed.

Or is it?

Maybe you’ve known people who live as though they are drag racing through life. They seem to live as though they are racing “real” life racing against the life they “ought” to have. Once the starting signal said “GO!” they became so focused on their goals and on how they plan to get there. The objective: Go, go fast, finish, and finish best. In order to be successful, must work exactly right, with little or no margin for error. One unexpected bump in the road, one minor over-correction, and you risk complete burn-out or spinning hopelessly out of control.

Maybe you don’t know someone exactly like that. The point I am trying to make is that you and I were not created to live life focused on only one thing, while allowing the rest of life go unnoticed. It is important to have goals and plans for life. But our goals and plans for life ought not be the end-all, be-all of our time here on earth. There are bumps in the road, and course corrections do need to be made. If you neglect the course corrections, you veer out of control.

This brings to mind a well-known story of a Special Olympics event several years ago. As the story goes:

A few years ago at the Seattle Special Olympics, nine contestants, all physically or mentally disabled challenged, assembled at the starting line for the 100-yard dash. At the gun, they all started out, not exactly in a dash, but with a relish to run the race to the finish and win.

All, that is, except one boy who stumbled on the asphalt, tumbled over a couple of times and began to cry. The other eight heard the boy cry. They slowed down and looked back. They all turned around and went back. Every one of them.

One girl with Down’s Syndrome bent down and kissed him and said, “This will make it better.” All nine linked arms and walked across the finish line together.

Everyone in the stadium stood, and the cheering went on for several minutes. People who were there are still telling the story. Why? Because deep down we know this one thing: What matters in this life is more than winning for ourselves.

What truly matters in this life is helping others win, even if it means slowing down and changing our course.
The apostle Paul said, “I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.” (Philippians 3:14, NLT) We are all in a life race of some sort. Whether your life moves at the pace a fast, loud muscle car, or a respected Lexus, or the mini-van of the soccer mom, or even a too slow Yugo, there is still time to slow down and appreciate the little things. Your life race will come someday to an end – there’s really no need to speed it up. Your heavenly prize will still be waiting for you.

Run strong. Run well. Take time to help the guy with the laughed at leased Pinto. Really, you don’t need to run so fast.

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