Several weeks ago, my friends at PNC provided me with several passes to Fast Friday, the day before qualifications for the 2012 running of the Indy 500. Originally, Janet was going to join me but she suggested that Andrew may enjoy the time with me at the track – like when I took him years ago when he was a little guy. It’s been years since I have been back there – at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway – but boy, did it bring back memories.
It was there that I first met my friend Jonathan Byrd, years ago, when I was a guest in his suite – probably the best one at the track. It was the first suite coming out of turn four as the cars headed out of the north short chute, through turn four, flew down the main straightaway past pit row and then dove into turn one. It was breathtaking to watch those cars streak around the track.
It was also a tradition that each year I bought a hat at the track. Sometimes Andrew was with me, but other times, I brought one home and he always enjoyed wearing the new addition to the collection. Andrew also joined me years ago when we visited the INB Bank suite on the outside of turn 2, or when we saw our friend Bill Stanley on the inside straightaway suites above pit row. In other words, I have great memories of the track, all the way back to 1983, the first time that I spent time there on-site.
So I was excited when Andrew agreed to join me last Friday and visit the track. We stopped by the PNC event, had lunch and then toured the garage area. In fact, Jonathan Byrd’s Cafeteria is providing lunches for one of the teams – Jean Alesi’s #64 car, a Lotus entry, owned by Fan Force United. Because of that, we were invited into the actual garage and watched as they prepared the car for a practice run. While the team has been struggling with finding speed, it was still incredible to get up close and personal with the team and actually meet the driver. Of course, we watched the cars run for a while and then it was time to get back to the chores of the corporate world and finish the work for the end of the week. But first, we stopped by the trackside store and I bought us matching 2012 Indy hats….. It was a great day.
The hype surrounding the track on Friday had to do with which teams had a shot at the pole – meaning the #1 position on the starting grid on race day – one week from today on Memorial Day. Everybody was looking for speed and making last minute adjustments to their cars. Engine manufacturers Chevy and Honda were vying for the top spot and Lotus seemed a little behind in their competitive development.
But there is one thing more important than being #1 on the grid, and that’s making the race – or as they say in the trade, “making the show.” And you know something else, it’s the same way with God. It’s really important that you “make the show” and that means that you accept the offer of eternal life that is offered to each of us. The beautiful thing about salvation is that it’s not a competition – and you don’t have to be one of the best people on the earth to gain entrance into heaven. The offer is open to everyone and there is no limit on the number of people who can accept the offer that God gives to each of us – the offer of eternal life.
And it’s not like you have to work you way into heaven. In fact, it’s really simple. If you believe that Jesus Christ is the son of God, you’re in. Period. No speed trials, no problems with flat tires – no competition. Just believe…..
The verse for tonight is from 1 John 5:13, “I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.” My encouragement tonight is that if you haven’t already done so, you will consider “making the show” and accepting the offer of eternal life, because the offer is open to you…. My prayer is that you will know the peace and joy that comes from having an authentic relationship with the living God – because everyone who accepts the offer has the pole position – in fact, they have already won the race… Grace and peace…