I had the pleasure to be a guest of Mike Hepp, co-founder of Racing for Recovery, at the Maple Grove Raceway in Reading PA for the NHRA Nationals on October 5, 2014. Here are a few observations about our experience.
Do the right thing the right way every time. I watched in total amazement as Tony Schumacher’s crew tore apart his car’s engine only minutes after the race. The 8 man crew was a study in training and expertise. Each man knew exactly what to do, how to do it, and when to do it. If the right thing is not done the right way every time, the chance of disaster increases substantially. God does not take a day off from His perfection – neither should we take a moment off in our striving for perfection.
- Start every day with a new machine. If we achieve high performance in life, we are going to blow a piston. Tony Schumacher’s team rebuilds his engine after every race – every race. High performance excellence will wear out parts and those parts must be replaced in order to maintain that level of performance. The Christian life lived well will result in exhaustion. We need to continuously refresh our spirit with prayer and study of His Word, becoming so faithful in attending to these disciplines as to become a machine that can always perform at its best.
- Perfection is impossible. Many of the drivers pulled up to the starting line looking forward to advancing in the competition with a win. However, their car would flame out or blow up (pieces of the car needing to be picked up on the race track). One of damaged cars managed a top speed of 90 mph while his competitor approached 300 mph. I don’t doubt the driver’s pit crew did the right thing the right way every time. However, there still was imperfection. Even Tony Schumacher has escaped near death when his car broke apart in a race. We will experience failures in life no matter how hard we try to avoid them.
The raw power of God is humbling. Do you want to be humbled? Stand 100 feet away from a top fuel dragster at the starting line. A car that launches on a bid to go 320 mph in 3-4 seconds commands your respect. The sound, smell, and earthshaking shock waves of such a car may bring you to your knees. I’ve seen impressive cars on the street but nothing like I saw at the drag strip today. I can only imagine the awesome power of God I will experience when I am 100 feet away from His throne.
- Anyone can drive God’s race car. I’ve always felt it was so silly when testosterone fueled young men slam down their gas pedal, burn rubber, and speed away to impress the young ladies. “Oh, what a man!” Well, this afternoon, estrogen fueled Brittany Force made it to the finals against Tony Schumacher, driving her car over 300 miles per hour. “Oh, what a lady!” Are you impressed teenage boys? There are no gender requirements to follow God’s way with excellence. Ladies as well as men can be extraordinary in giving honor to Him.
Honorable people respect excellence. As I watched the Schumacher team dismantle and rebuild the engine for the next race, I had the pleasure to stand next to Ronnie Clark, a Purple Heart recipient from the Vietnam War. Tony Schumacher won the race today with Ronnie’s Purple Heart in his pocket as a good luck charm. It was a pleasure to speak with this honorable man who was injured twice in Vietnam, fighting for his country. The Schumacher team is world famous because they do so many things well, whether it be racing, event management, or public relations. I watched Tony interact with the public with as much skill as he demonstrates behind the wheel. The Schumacher team entertains the public at each race, offering all kinds of amenities and services that make the Schumacher area on the grounds the place to be. With such public good will, who would raise an objection to the Schumacher team hosting a chapel service in their tent at 8 am in the morning, attended by over 200 people? If you do your job well, loving others in the name of Jesus Christ, honorable members of the public will take notice and respect you for it.