“It’s not about the car, it’s about the people.”
I have carried those words with me since 2005.
Michelle and I were in our second season at Fairgrounds Speedway Nashville where I was serving as Chaplain. We had been in discussion with Tim, a former MRO chaplain and mentor, about transitioning to serve a new NASCAR Regional Series that had formed in the Southeast (the NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour).
As we began to explore the series I became concerned that I couldn’t relate to the community because I was a complete ‘stranger’ to open-wheel modified racing. Amidst my concern I emailed Tim to share that I was trepid to make that kind of a move because I was unfamiliar with that niche of motor sports.
The aforementioned phrase was, in part, Tim’s reply.
I was reminded that being Jesus’ witness isn’t about me.
It isn’t about operating within my comfort zone or within the pre-defined boxes that I set for myself. It isn’t about our likes or our desires. Being Jesus’ witness isn’t about full-bodied stock cars or an open-wheel modified race cars. Being Jesus’ witness is about making him known to all people; wherever that may be.
The truth of what he was telling me was already embedded in my spirit, yet I needed to be reminded of it that day.
I needed to be reminded that “Thy Kingdom come” should never become “my kingdom come.”
I needed to be reminded that making Jesus’ known isn’t about me, it was about He. Serving Jesus isn’t about serving our desires, rather serving His.
The journey we were on in motorsports was not about us.
It is easy to make ministry about ourselves; to use it as a leveraging tool for our own purposes and ‘desires’. Ministry can quickly become more about ourselves than about Jesus.
I’ve not said all of this to discount that we are all wired with unique passions in life. There are things that really fire us up, things that we are good at, things we are passionate about.
I do believe that we are passionate about these things for a purpose.
When Jesus reminded the lawyer that we are to love God with all of our heart, soul, strength and mind He was reminding him that all we have, all we think and all we do should be given to God. If I’m passionate about music, then loving God would entail me giving my music to God and asking how I can use that to glorify Him.
If I’m passionate about motor sports then I am giving that to God, asking how I can use that passion to make Him known.
Yet amidst our passions we have to be willing to follow if God leads us somewhere different.
We haven’t truly given God our heart, soul, strength and mind if we are unwilling to follow Him outside of the box of our passions.
It is the difference of self-sacrifice and self-gratificaiton.
We often look to Psalm 37 as a means to hang onto our passions.
4 Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.
The promise that God will give us the desires of our heart is a pretty amazing promise, yet it is one that we can easily leverage for our own selfish purposes because we quickly skim over the first part of that verse. When we “Delight ourselves in the Lord” our passions have become parallel with God’s passions.
In other words the desires of our heart are fulfilled because His desires have become our desires.
I was able to spend 9 years with that open-wheel group before God led me towards a new group of racers. The people I was once so trepid about I didn’t want to leave; they had become like family to us. Yet the wisdom of Tim, and the truth in my heart, gave me the strength to again obediently follow.
We’re not building our Kingdom, We’re building God’s Kingdom. To do that we have to be obedient to the King.
We cannot let ourselves stand in the way of God’s Kingdom. It isn’t about the car. Or career. Or leveraging opportunity. It is simply following where God leads, testifying to the goodness of God; of His love and His longing to be restored to us.
May not only our words, but our lives, reflect “Thy Kingdom come.”