Life, 1/8-Mile at a Time

This past Friday, I had the pleasure of attending my first drag race event at the South Georgia Motorsports Park in Valdosta, GA. Seeing and hearing 4,000 horsepower cars rocket down the track at speeds over 200 mph was absolutely thrilling. The rumble of turbocharged, supercharged, and procharged engines shook my chest cavity as they launched down the sticky track like banshees caught on fire. If I ask you to repeat what you’re saying for the next few weeks, you know why. 

As the aroma of burnt rubber and methanol wafted through the air of the grandstands, I was overcome thinking about the lessons that these drag racers can teach you and me. Here are a few that I jotted down:

1.) It’s all about preparation.

Owners, mechanics, drivers, and teams spend a disproportionate amount of time under the hood before they ever make it onto the track. Most of the cars went from standstill to 1/8 mile in about 4 seconds, yet thousands of hours are spent tuning engines, finding power, and balancing the beastly machines.

As a Christian we are admonished to be ready in season and out of season as we present the Word of God to others (2 Timothy 4:2) and to always be ready to share the hope we have in Jesus (1 Peter 3:15). Time spent in prayer, Bible study, and continually walking with Jesus readies us to make and impact in this world. We must always be prepared for when God turns the light to green.

2.) Traction is Tricky.

No matter how much horsepower the engines made (some north of 5,000!) too much wheelspin negated it all. There was an old Pirelli tire commercial with tagline, “Power is nothing without control,” and that was frustratingly true for many cars on the track on Friday.

Getting traction comes with finding balance. Most of us would admit that we oftentimes can be found spinning our wheels in life because we’ve failed to put in the hard work to find balance. Balance is quite Biblical though; Jesus was full of grace and truth (John 1:14), we must speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15), and we must be doers of the Word, not just hearers (James 1:22-25). The Christian life demands us to find balance in Jesus. The Holy Spirit helps us in this as He produces all the spiritual fruit in our lives (Galatians 5:22-23).


3.) Live for the Special Moments.

Like I said earlier, drag racing happens fast. If you look away to take a bite of your hotdog, you’ll miss the whole race. These racers, their teams, and the fans look forward to a burst of mechanical glory that takes less time than it takes to read this sentence.
You and I should also look for the special moments God gives us in life. Moments when He showed up in a powerful and mighty way. I don’t think life is just a series of days and years but more so a record of special events and experiences that define us, bring us joy, and make us look to Christ over and over. We may want to change our perspective from looking down the road of life to instead, thinking of our lives as a series of 1/8-mile sprints. Perhaps if we did so, we would live our lives in the moment more often.

4.) Racing is More Fun in Community.

As my friend Craig and I pulled up to the track on Friday, I saw a sea of motorhomes and trailers that filled the parking lot. People from all over the country and from almost every vocational background came to partake in the festivities of the race weekend. Competitors laughed as they discussed their speeds, families rode around in golf-carts together looking at the cars, and people from all walks of life sat together on the stands laughing and covering their ears as the cars raced by. I found a tribe of people who enjoyed cars, camaraderie, and the thrill of drag racing.
Similarly, God has designed a gathering of His people, the church, to cheer one another on as we rocket through life (Hebrews 10:24). We are a community, centered in Christ, racing toward the goal of His upward call (Philippians 3:14). We have brothers and sisters who will come to our aid when we crash and burn and a family who loves Jesus and loves living life together for His glory. Racing is just not any fun alone and life was never meant to be lived without a faith community.

As you can see, I had some time to learn from my experience at the track. Let’s start living life 1/8-mile at a time. Let’s prepare ourselves for the life that God has dreamt for us, and be ready for the opportunities He will put in our paths to make Him known. Let’s celebrate the victories and learn from the losses. Most of all, let’s do it together, united in our love for our Savior and for each other.



Racing to Our Destiny,

Pastor Paul J. Millarc