On this day, June 9th, several months before Janet and I were married in 1973, Secretariat won the Triple Crown with a victory at the Belmont Stakes – having already won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness. Secretariat’s history was quite remarkable. By the time he was two, he was already the size of a three year old and in his first race, he finished fourth – the only time in his career that he didn’t place “in the money.”
Secretariat was the son of the winner of the 1957 Preakness, Bold Ruler, and it was evident early on that Secretariat was a special horse. He set a record time at the Derby (the first and only horse to complete the oval in under 2 minutes) and was thought to have also set a record at the Preakness, although the official clock malfunctioned and the record didn’t stand. And then, the Belmont, where the horse won by 31 lengths and set a new track record as well.
At the end of 1973, Secretariat was put out to stud and sired other great horses, including Risen Star who won the 1988 Preakness and Belmont Stakes. Unfortunately, Secretariat fell ill in 1989 and was euthanized. An autopsy revealed that his heart weighed more than 22 pounds – over twice the size of an average thoroughbred’s heart. It was this physical characteristic that is credited with Secretariat’s ability to run so fast and for for so long. In fact, there hasn’t even been a close second when it comes to the size of his heart. In 1999, ESPN’s listing of the top 50 athletes of the 20th century had Secretariat listed at #35 – the only non-human on the list in the top 100. So, as you can see, he was one special horse.
The verse for this evening highlights the words of Jesus Himself. He tells us, according to the apostle John, in John 14:1 “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me.” My encouragement this evening is that Jesus had, and has, a huge heart for His people. He doesn’t want us to be troubled and wants us to fix our eyes and hearts on Him. My prayer is that your heart will grow for the Lord – that you will be the hands and feet of Jesus on this earth and demonstrate His heart for those who have been entrusted to His care. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…