May 23, 2013

“Where there are no oxen, the manger is clean, but abundant crops come by the strength of the ox.”  Proverbs 14:4

1971 Chevrolet Corvette LT1

1971 Chevrolet Corvette LT1 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I once went to a friend of a friend’s house and was shown his treasure.  In his garage, he had a treasure, whose value he was trying to protect from the deterioration of time and use.  A 1971 Corvette was quietly tucked under a car cover.  The car cover was gently pulled up to reveal paint that was unweathered by the sun and unchipped by road debris.  The engine compartment contained a massive powerplant that looked like the factory workers had just placed it in the harness of its engine mounts.  The Corvette looked brand new.

In essence, this car was still new despite its age.  The careful owner had put only 20,000 original miles on the car and it showed.  It was completely original, even down to the tires.  This car was the pride and joy of its owner who would only take his car out for a drive a couple times a year.

While I can appreciate the appreciating value that the lack of use was bringing to this vehicle, I have been a little dubious about the practice.  If I ever own a Corvette, I plan on driving that car.  It is a sports car.  It is meant to go fast.  It was designed to hug the curves of the road at speed.  The designers never intended for such a mechanized beast to sit, covered in a dark garage.  They built the car to be used and enjoyed.

I wonder how many people view their faith in a similar way.

1971 Chevrolet Corvette photographed at Auto c...

1971 Chevrolet Corvette photographed at Auto classique Montréal 2008. Category:Chevrolet Corvette C3 Category:Auto classique Montréal 2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

They practice their faith in such a manner as to maintain their spiritual piety above all else or they are so fearful of losing their salvation that they never put it to use.  Our faith is a gift to us for a purpose of the production of abundant fruit, to the glory of God.  We were never given our faith so that we could place it in a shrine and fuss over its condition.  It is meant to be used.  It is meant to be seen in action.  It is meant to be felt through compassion and love.  It is meant for the world to see God through us.

The practice of our faith is messy.

It causes us to get involved in other people’s lives.  It requires us to examine our lives and our loves.  It places us in arenas where our beliefs will be challenged.  It separates us from the normal.  A faith that is working drives a person to their Lord for nourishment and sustenance.  The person whose faith is active is a person who will get beaten up a bit.  They will get weathered by criticism and harsh words.  They may get dented by the hardened hearts that they crash into.  They will get chipped by the flying debris of hard landings.  They will get worn down by use.

When their period of service is over, they will not be a pristine showroom piece from the world’s perspective.

However, the world’s perspective is not what matters.  It is God who we are serving.  His perspective is all that matters.  He will see every one of our dents, our sun-bleached finish, our worn tires, our blown engine.  He will see these “blemishes” as brush strokes of His grace and mercy.  He will remember when He crafted each and every unique “imperfect” into His master plan.  He will know how His gift of faith was consumed to produce the abundant harvest that He has drawn to Himself.

racing at the spring NASCAR race at Bristol, #...

racing at the spring NASCAR race at Bristol, #49 Brent Sherman #48 Jimmie Johnson #95 Stanton Barrett (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Consider a NASCAR race car. Those cars get all beat up in the course of a race; after all “rubbin’s racin'”. They will cross the finish line, almost out of fuel, with worn tires, and quarter panels smashed in.  A race is not about preserving the car for a showroom.  It is about winning the race.  Therefore, the racecar drivers push it to the limits.  They get into tight spots.  They rub up against their competitors.  They draft off of one another.  They use up their car.

God is not impressed with the pristine original quality of our faith.  God is impressed with winning the race and running well and hard.

Faith was given to us to take out of the security of the garage.  Our faith is meant to be used.  Our faith is meant to race.  I want to cross the finish line of my life, out of fuel, tires worn off, every quarter panel dented in, grill smashed, windshield broken, and engine blown.  I want my Lord to look at me and say, “I see you have been racing; well done good and faithful servant.  Enter your rest.”

May we hit the street and run hard through this life so that we are  ready for the junk heap when the number of our days are ended.  We will then have served the greatest purpose for which we were created; the reason for which we were give our faith – to glorify our Lord.

 Boggity, Boggity, Boggity, Lets go racing boys and girls!

 If the highest aim of a captain were to preserve his ship, he would keep it in port forever.
Thomas Aquinas

PRAYER: Lord, teach me to know your purposes.  Help me to value what you value.  Lord, use me.  Father, I want to bring to you a ten-fold harvest; force me out of the garage and into service for your glory.  Help me to walk every step of my life in your Spirit, to produce abundant fruit.  I pray this in the precious name of your Son, Jesus Christ.   Amen.


  1. Much like us when we cover up our Christianity when it is meant to be exhibited.

  2. Great analogy with the race cars and how we do get “banged” up at times with our faith. It reminded me of the passage in Hebrews 11: 32-40. This list of people got pretty used up, but they kept their eyes on the prize. Thanks for this devotion.

  3. this is an amazing analogy, I might use this when I next time I speak in front of my ig school pears, I mean what high school guys do you know who aren’t interested in cars… thanks for this awesome post.

  4. […] “SHOWROOM OR NASCAR FAITH” – May 23. […]

  5. JD, this is so freeing. I think our tendency is to hunker down, especially since we all mess up from time to time. I find myself beating myself up, like when I fail and do a poor job of imitating Christ. I love how you said, “He will see these “blemishes” as brush strokes of His grace and mercy.” Beautiful reminder of how God sees our hearts and knows we are often doing the best we can, and that we are so very human. Yet, He does want us out there running our races! Frees me to just keep on going (or zooming)! Blessings!

  6. I’m truly not exaggerating when I say…this was one of the most ‘stir me up to good works’ things I’ve ever read! God Bless you!!

  7. Loved it! Thank you!

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