As I have been in God’s Word these past few weeks one of the things that has been on my mind is being part of the team. What does it take to be a part of the team? There are many that participate but only a few become committed members. What qualifies you to be a teammate? Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Being a part of a team is a great honor. When that team is a winning team, it makes it even more special. As I look around the pit area in the many tracks I visit, I see people who belong to the racing family; you recognize their faces, see them at different tracks, people who want to be a part of something. Some of them make a deeper commitment and are willing to sacrifice for the opportunity to be a part of something bigger than themselves. Those that make those sacrifices; time, effort, money, are bonded together. When we endure challenges together and work for a common goal, we become teammates.

What does it take to belong to this team? One thing comes to mind, we need to have a high level of commitment. Have you ever had a team member you couldn’t count on? It is difficult to work with and depend on, isn’t it? I think more than anything else people are looking for others to be committed, not just participate. We must be willing to put everything we have into it.

I am reminded of the chicken and the pig. When it came time to be a part of the breakfast team, the chicken participated but the pig was committed. You see the chicken gave the eggs, just a portion of what it had and it didn’t require much sacrifice. The pig on the other hand gave his life to provide the bacon. Are we just participating or are we committed?

Most everything we value in a teammate is based on how they contribute to the team effort. They need to know what they are doing. If they put in the effort to learn they will find a home on the team. Their value to the team is based on their level of commitment, their willingness and sacrifice.

What about God’s team? Did you know that you don’t have to earn your way onto God’s team? That’s right; God doesn’t base our value on our performance. We cannot do enough good things to earn our way onto God’s team. It sounds strange because it is so foreign to us. How come we can’t be good enough to be on God’s team?

First off, God is perfect; there is no error in his way. We on the other hand are not perfect, we know. So how do we get on God’s team? For us to be in God’s presence there has to be something that covers over imperfections; it is not what we know, it is who we know. Do we know Jesus Christ? Jesus made the sacrifice necessary for us to be part of God’s team. God gave us that gift and allowed us to become one with Christ. It is not something we can do for ourselves. The writer of Romans explains;

Romans 10:9-13; NLT; If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved. As the Scriptures tell us, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be disgraced.” Jew and Gentile are the same in this respect. They have the same Lord, who gives generously to all who call on him.  For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

And Paul explains it for us;

Ephesians 2:8-10; For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God– not by works, so that no one can boast.  For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

God cared enough for you and me to give us the gift of salvation through his son Jesus Christ. A gift you cannot earn; a gift that will change your life. Christ made the sacrifice necessary to provide the opportunity so that we could have the opportunity to know God.

Being on God’s team is different from man’s team; being with God, He will accomplish much through us. Look at this verse. God provides us the gift of grace, unmerited favor. It goes on to say that we cannot earn our way on the team, we only need to accept the gift provided. That is different than we expect. We think we need to do something or make a sacrifice. Christ paid that price, made the sacrifice for us. 

We also read that this team has tasks to do. God has laid out a plan for each of our lives. His plan is a good one and will lead us to be a productive member of His team. It will cost us something though; we have to do it God’s way. We don’t become a member of God’s team and then get to do what we want to. God’s plan will transform our lives and change the way we see things, His plan will allow us to live the best life possible. We don’t need to know how or why we only need to trust God and He will provide the direction for us.

Team unity means that we are all working together for the same goal. If we are on God’s team the Holy Spirit guides us. He will show us God’s plan. Like a crew chief, he will lay out the things that need to be done, directions we need to follow.

Listen to the words of Peter as he talks about the physical sacrifice we need to make for God. Peter helps us understand that accepting God’s gift leads to a spiritual and physical change. We will look different to others.

1 Peter 4:1-5 NLT), So then, since Christ suffered physical pain, you must arm yourselves with the same attitude he had, and be ready to suffer, too. For if you have suffered physically for Christ, you have finished with sin.  You won’t spend the rest of your lives chasing your own desires, but you will be anxious to do the will of God. You have had enough in the past of the evil things that godless people enjoy—their immorality and lust, their feasting and drunkenness and wild parties, and their terrible worship of idols.

Of course, your former friends are surprised when you no longer plunge into the flood of wild and destructive things they do. So they slander you. But remember that they will have to face God, who will judge everyone, both the living and the dead. 

Just as Christ gave up his life, we also need to be willing to do the same. Remember the pig, he was committed. The amazing thing is that to be on God’s team no prior knowledge or performance is required. We need only to accept the offer God makes to join Him. We need to commit ourselves to follow His lead. Yes, it will mean that there will be a change in our lives, physical and spiritual. Yes, some folks won’t understand and make fun of us. The reality is that there is no other way to live a full and satisfying life. We cannot do enough good things to earn our way onto God’s team. It is a gift we need to accept. 

Are we ready to join God’s team? Remember it is not what you know but who you know. Make that decision now, don’t put it off. Just pause for a moment and ask God to come into your life. Ask Him to forgive you for your shortcomings and accept the sacrifice that Christ made for our forgiveness. That is all it takes to receive the gift of life.

If you do, share that with us and we will help you find God’s plan for your life. Remember the promise God made through the prophet Jeremiah;

Jeremiah 29:11-13, For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.

Until next time, remember God loves you and Jesus is Lord over Auto Racing! God Bless. Remember, that your prayerful support and donations helps us continue this ministry. Thank You.