PASS THE SALT
by Rev. Don Rivers
This time of year gives us the opportunity to reflect on the past, rest in
the present and look forward to the future. We usually use this time to look
a little closer at a passage of Scripture and spend some time focusing on
getting closer to God. This year I thought we might take a look at Jesus’
first public preaching, The Sermon on the Mount, from Matthew’s Gospel. Join
with me over the next few weeks as we look at some exerts from this passage.
Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
I have had it on my heart for some time to cover that passage here
in the column. We will begin just after the Beatitudes, a passage in
Matthew’s Gospel that begins what is referred to as “The Sermon on the
Mount”. A time when Jesus sat and taught some of the most significant
lessons we will learn as Christians to his disciples. If you recall a few
winters back we covered the first part, Blessed are those…. Now we will
continue and look a little further.
How do we perform under the microscope? Will people see our true
character? When they do will they see the love of Jesus? All good questions
that many times we don’t find the answer to until the pressure is increased.
Many times in life and racing we find ourselves in pressure packed
situations. We need to perform better to retain a sponsor or we need a good
finish to secure our point standings. There are many opportunities to forget
about everything and focus on our on track performance. Crunch Time!
Many times when we put that pressure on ourselves we do not
represent God well. We lose sight of what we have been called to become in
Christ and we revert back to self-focused and self-serving. We forget to
look around and see what others are going through. That is not the way we
should live. We should be looking around for the opportunities that God has
for us. When we turn our focus internally we do not see or hear the voice of
God. Jesus encourages us to remember who we are called to be.
Matthew 5:13-16; "You are the salt of the earth. But if the
salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer
good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men. "You are the
light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people
light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and
it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light
shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father
Jesus uses two analogies, salt and light. Let’s take a look at salt
first. Do you use salt? We use it for different things such as to season
food or melting ice. When we use it as a seasoning we do so to enhance the
flavor. Take a look around and see if we are enhancing those around us. Are
we making things better or worse?
We also use salt to change things. When we put salt on ice it melts
and makes it easier to get around. Used in this way salt helps us overcome
some of the obstacles we face. Are we helping others overcome obstacles?
Salt can also be corrosive, when used in the wrong way we can tear
thing apart. Too much salt in our diet leads to medical conditions that
shorten our lives. What we have to be aware of is balance, just enough but
not too much.
We are encouraged by Jesus to use the love of Christ that is in our
hearts to improve the situation. We are encouraged not to lose our
effectiveness. Jesus cautions that if we lose our focus and our “salt” is no
longer effective we become useless.
Let me stop here and explain. We have the opportunity each moment
we live to affect those around us, either for good or bad. We decide how we
will use our influence. When we choose to be destructive our ability to
claim the love of Christ and help others is gone. Our witness is no longer
respected. When we find ourselves under pressure we need to be aware of how
we are demonstrating our faith. We need to remember who is in control. We
need to avoid losing our saltiness, our credibility, our witness.
Think of it this way. We can be an egg or a carrot or coffee beans.
Let me explain, when we place each on of these in the heat of the moment,
boiling water, they react differently. An egg becomes hard-boiled. Its
insides change from liquid to solid. Our heart gets hard. Carrots on the
other hand get soft and mushy. They start off rigid and strong but end up
all mushy, no backbone, no firm foundation to stand on. Now coffee beans on
the other hand do not change, they remain the same. They do however change
the water. The water becomes aromatic and tasty. The water becomes
desirable. The coffee beans do not change but they improve the water. Which
one are we. When pressure comes do we harden our heart, loose our foundation
or add to the situation in a way that improves it? Don’t loose your
Jesus then goes on to describe us as “the light of the world”. Have
you ever though of yourself as a light that shines for all to see? Jesus put
in each one of us a light that will dispel the darkness. Don’t hide your
light, let it shine.
Have you ever been in a cave and the lights went out. You cannot
see your hand in front of your face. Then you light a match, a little flame
and you are amazed at how much light it provides. You are the same kind of
light. We, as Christians, have the same opportunity to light the darkness
others are experiencing. When all hope is gone the light of one who knows
Jesus can bring hope to the world.
Have you ever stumbled around in the dark? Even in your own home,
you think you know where things are, but you still stub your toe and
stumble. When we hide our light we cause others to stumble around in the
darkness. When we keep the love of God to ourselves and do not share it we
leave others to find their own way in the darkness. Let you light shine! Put
it on a lamp stand and help others find their way.
Jesus used these two analogies to demonstrate two important
functions we have as Christians. We need to improve the lives of others and
shine our light to help them find their way. Have we improved the lives of
those around us or have we been an obstacle? The first lesson Jesus taught
us in this passage is that we have a responsibility to lead others. Whether
we realize it or not we are leading. Make sure you are leading people to
what is right. God Bless, Rev. Don
THOUGHTS FROM THE ROAD
MOTORSPORTS 2009 - Atlantic City, Here we come! The Motorsports
world is ready to descend on the Jersey shore, specifically the Atlantic
City Convention Center and The Boardwalk Hotel; a little time to look
around, renew old acquaintances and a little time to race. We look forward
to this show all year. It is a time for us to get out and meet those who
support us and share with them the champions from the drivers and teams we
minister to. This year will be no exception.
The show has been concentrated to Friday and Saturday this year and
Saturday is the day we will have our Champions present. Matt Kobyluck,
Camping World East Series Champion and Ted Christopher, Whelen Modified Tour
Champion will be on hand at 1:00 to sign autographs. And then later in the
day at 2:00 ROC Champion, Matt Hirschman will be there joined by 5-time WMT
Champion Tony Hirschman and Whelen Modified Tour ROTY Glenn Reen.
We are looking forward to seeing you all so stop by and say hello.
As always you will be able to pick up some decals, T-shirts and Sweatshirts
that show your support and help keep us going.
TOYOTA ALL-STAR SHOWDOWN - The list keeps growing as drivers
commit to run in Irwindale at what has become “The Daytona 500 of
Short-track Racing.” Joey Logano will be back to defend his crown.
"I can't wait to go back," Logano said. I've got the same car and
that track is just a real cool race track. And we had a great time out in
Southern California . I really enjoyed being out there. It's pretty much the
Daytona 500 of short-track racing, and it would be awesome to go back and
win it again."
Joey will be joined by the likes of Hornaday, Crafton, Kobyluck,
Sellers, Davis and more. Rev. Dan will make the trip out and be joined by
our West Coast Coordinator Gary Dionne and Chaplain Paul Veluzat. I am sure
a visit to the Long Beach with Deb and Amanda will be in order. Maybe the
Commodore will give them a tour around the estate.
I’ll be hanging back on the East Coast for this one as the timing
with Motorsports makes it necessary for us to divide responsibilities.
Be a witness for our Lord with the ministry decals and apparel. See
them at the Online Apparel Store at
www.RWJM.org. Call us
with your prayer and counseling needs and list all your prayer needs, no
matter what part of our racing family you are in, with the Racing Family
Prayer Request Page
www.rwjm.org/page/prayers.php also send your prayer request by mail.
Until next time, remember that God loves you, we love you and
Jesus is Lord over Auto Racing. GOD BLESS.
Mail reaches us at Racing with Jesus Ministries, PO Box 586,
Tolland, CT 06084. Check our weekly printed pages in "Area Auto Racing
News", the East Coast’s largest weekly racing paper" See our on-line Apparel
Store for subscription information. Check our home page
www.rwjm.org for past
articles. We invite you to input your thoughts as you sign our Guest Book.
Please remember, we can only do what we do because of your prayerful
Numbers 6:24-26 "The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord
make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face
toward you and give you peace."
May God always Bless you, everyday in everyway. Rev. Don
TONY & BRENDA HIRSCHMAN - This Northampton, PA NASCAR WMT/CWSE GRAND
NATIONAL championship driver and wife share their 31st anniversary.
STEVE & TAMMY WOOD - This New Jerseyite, now in Mooresville , NC and
wife share their 10th anniversary. Woody is with R&D at Evernham
WILL & JENNIFER POIGNONNEC - This Oakland Valley Race Park (
Cuddebackville , NY ) Kart racer and wife share 6th anniversary.
JOHN & SANDY LEGER - This CT based LM driver and wife have their 18th
GREG & VENETTA NARDUCCI - This FL based couple celebrates 31 years
SCOTT DEWARE - South Easton , MA NASCAR BES and GT driver.
TONY DIAS, JR. - Son of Riverside, RI Seekonk ProStock driver, Tony,
JASON THOMAS - A grown-up son of Maine based "Racin' Paper" Publisher
and Editor, Mark.
TIM CONNOLLY - Endwell, NY Mod Series driver.
DENNIS DOYLE - Plymouth, CT former NASCAR CWSE driver.
DAVE LAMPRON - Gorham , ME driver.
TIM ARRE - Toms River, NJ Modified Series and Wall Township Speedway
driver and past S.M.A.R.T. Modified champion.
A.J. FOYT - Houston, TX retired Indy car great turned team owner.
DAVE ROSENFIELD - Bridgewater, MA ProStock driver.
ERIC BODINE - Chemung, NY Former NASCAR CWES driver.
LAKE SPEED - Kannapolis, NC retired NSC driver and unashamed
ERIN VENTH - Daughter of former Harbach X90 Modified crewman George
Venth is 8.
VAL LeSIEUR - No. Easton , MA former Publisher of "Speedway Scene."
BEN DODGE - Vernon , CT Whelen Modified Tour Start/Finish Productions
Team owner and Thompson Speedway Special Advisor.
GINA FRANCIS - Wife of former Jamie Tomaino NASCAR WMT crewman Tom,
both now residing happily in Denver , NC .
NICOLE ACKERLY - Daughter of Orange County driver Ray and wife Paula
ROBERT GEIBEL - A very special friend of Laura Dennis from Brick, NJ
and a Jamie Tomaino WMT fan and Steve Park fan.
BRAEDEN DOUST, Marcellus , NY - son of Sportsman driver Greg Doust.
BOB McCREADIE - Watertown , NY winningest ever NY dirt Modified drivers.
GARRETT EVANS - Ardenvoir, WA NASCAR West driver and NASCAR Truck
JOE HEATH - Northridge, CA NASCAR West driver.
TOM HESLIN - Plainville, CT spotter for the Ted Christopher driven
Mod/NASCAR CWES teams.
JONATHAN WAWRZONEK - Son of Fonda Speedway fans, Ron and Gloria
KENNY BRIGHTBILL - Sinking Springs, PA legendary and active dirt Mod
DONALD SMITH - NC Modified driver.
BARRY BABB - Beech Ridge Speedway LM driver.
RICHIE GALLUP - Springfield, MA Modified driver.
JERRY CATANIA - A son of CT Mod owner, Joe.
MIKE ADASKAVEG - "Boston Herald" photographer.
GORDY KILLIAN - Reading, PA Sprint writer/photographer.
ROSE TEETER - Wife and NNC fan with husband Paul of Ithaca, NY.
*** CREW ADDITIONS ***
DASHIEL BOSTON CHRISTLEY - Son of NASCAR Communications Director,
Development Series, Jason and his wife, welcomed into the world on December
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Don Rivers / Racing With Jesus Ministries