Two simple words but when said with sincerity they can change the world. I was reflecting on where, when and to whom we say these words. Thinking about the times they are used without sincerity. I wonder how things might change if we really took a look around and appreciated all we has been provided for us and said thank you. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

As you may have figured I am in a reflective mood as I write this. This past weekend and the meaning of it hit home. Memorial Day, when we pay respect to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. But we forget, we take for granted, we grow complacent. For us to turn the corner in life and truly find meaning and significance we first must be thankful for the opportunity we have. We also must acknowledge we received those opportunities because of someone else’s efforts.

This previous Sunday I went to a race track. Not a surprise the Sunday of Memorial Day Weekend is a one of the biggest in racing with the Indy 500 and Coca-Cola 600. The race I attended wasn’t that steeped in tradition. Some might say it was insignificant. I would disagree. You see on this day, at this track I saw the son of a very good friend show the world what it meant to say thank you. As he ran the race you could sense his resolve, he wanted so much to win this one. As his mom counted down the laps next to me, he led lap after lap and the reality of the win was close. He took the checkered flag, won the race but that wasn’t what touched my heart. He refused the checker and took an American Flag instead. He paraded it around the track expressing his thanks to be able to race. For him it wasn’t about his victory it was about the opportunity he was given. He was taught not to take that for granted.

I know this because his dad is why I chose this race to attend. A former Marine who served us in Iraq. He endured some of the most difficult circumstances. War is not pretty, there is no way nice way to put it. He stood in harm’s way for you and I. He taught his son to respect the freedom he has been given. His son, at seven years old knows how to say thank you. He and his wife have not only taught their son to respect the freedom we have been given, but also to respect others.

As I waited for his cart to go over the scales and pass tech I overheard the father of the second place driver encouraging his son to go over to the winner and congratulate him. His son was reluctant. Having tasted defeat he couldn’t find the inner strength to respect the race that had run and acknowledge the winner. That’s when the most significant moment of the race happened. As the winner came out of tech with his car he saw the other driver, ran over to him with a smile and extended his hand. “Nice race today, you ran good, thank you.”

The other father noticed and was disappointed that his son didn’t take the opportunity to act first. Therein lies the lesson, we shouldn’t have to be asked to say thank you, it should be a condition of our heart. It should be the first thing on our mind. When we see the opportunity to say thank you we should say it with all the sincerity and feeling this seven year old showed. We shouldn’t need to be reminded, prodded or coerced into acknowledging the efforts of someone else.

These parents have taught this young man something more valuable than anything else he will learn in his life, respect for others and respect for what has been provided. We would be in such a better place in our society if we learned to use these two simple words and mean them.

1 Thessalonians 1:2; We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers. 

I reflected this day on those that have thanked me for the efforts I made on their behalf. I reflected on how that made me feel. How their simple words changed my perspective. How something so easily overlooked could be so significant.

Maybe we have truly missed how simple yet significant this phrase is. It has the power to change not only our lives but the lives of those we touch with it. To engage the power of these two words we must first look beyond ourselves to the lives of those around us. We must grasp the significance of the actions of others that make our lives possible. We must not be complacent, thinking we somehow deserve what we have.

I encourage each one of us to take a moment and reflect on your life, how you got here and who was instrumental in providing for you. It may sound simple but if only one car runs a race is it really a race? That young seven year old knew that his victory was hollow unless he had others to race with. He was appreciative of their efforts and thankful they chose to run the race with him.

Remember to say thank you to those who are running the race with you. Remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Remember to thank the one who secured victory for you, Jesus Christ. Remember to have an attitude of humility not one of pride.

Numbers 6:24-26; 

‘May the Lord bless you
    and protect you.

May the Lord smile on you
    and be gracious to you.

May the Lord show you his favor
    and give you his peace.’

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