In changing times values change. Items that once were valuable are now insignificant compared to others. Our perspective changes and we value things differently. Do you know one thing whose value doesn’t change? Our value to God. Our value to God never changes. Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

So much of what we do is connected to how we feel about ourselves. We connect our value to our contribution; performance. You have hear me say it before and I’ll remind you God’s love for us is not performance based. Nothing we say or do changes the love God has for us. 

This morning all you gofers are on my heart. I know you well because I am one of you. I have a nickname; “Rivers Delivers”. Every race team needs a gofer. Gofers can make the difference between finding the replacement of a critical part or sitting in the garage for the feature. You see there is an art to knowing where to find things, but equally important is having the relationship to ask for and receive the needed part.

The late Jimmy Savage comes to mind; crew member for many years on the Mystic Missile, Whelen Modified Championship car owned by Bob Garbarino. I have heard stories of his ability to find anything, get it and deliver it before it was too late. He remembered where he saw a part and when it was needed he knew where to find it. He also was tenacious, if he didn’t know where one was he would find one, he would search for one, no stone left unturned. It is said that Jimmy could find anything.

Nothing has more value than something you need. It could be an insignificant item of not much value but if you need one, it becomes priceless. How many times have you needed a simple component at a critical time only to not have one available? Are you like me and have little bags of leftover screws, nuts and assembly components from projects you tackled. I have them everywhere. It may not make sense until you need one.

How valuable is toilet paper? Very valuable if you need it and don’t have it. Do you know what a must have item is on the list when you go on a mission trip to the mountains of Haiti? TP! You bring your own. Trust me it is one of the few comforts of home that help you get through trip. I apologize for the bathroom talk but the truth be told; what disappeared first from the store shelf? You guessed it, TP. The value of a roll of toilet paper increased overnight. 

Let’s get back to you and me for a moment. Our lives are built upon the discovery of what we do best. We school ourselves, search and try to decide what we are good at. Once we figure that out we pursue that with hopes of making a living out of it. Our hope is that we can develop a talent or skill that will be of value and we can build a life and legacy based on what we can do. 

What happens when that gets stripped away? For many of us we have been sitting idle for a few weeks if not more. We are told we aren’t essential to the function of society. Let me tell you nothing could be further from the truth. We all are essential, we all have value and we are all important to the lives around us. Do not believe the lies that some of us are nonessential. Understand that as times change and priorities dictate some talents and abilities are in higher demand but that doesn’t make anyone nonessential. God said so in His word.

In the Gospel of Luke there are recorded three stories about value. I encourage you to read Luke 15. I hope you will notice that in each instance, whether it be possessions, money or people they all had value that didn’t diminish because they were lost. It has its root in a group of religious leaders trying to devalue the “notorious sinners” that came to hear Jesus teach.

Luke 15:1-3; NLT; Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach. This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such sinful people—even eating with them! So Jesus told them this story:

Jesus went on to tell of the lost sheep, the lost coin and the lost son. In each case the item that was lost did not lose its value or standing. But instead it was worth looking for and when it was found rejoicing was the order of the day. Let us understand that what is lost is more valuable than what we possess. 

We have lost so much recently and there are some that think that is okay. I am not of that thought process. I do however think in losing some things we have found other things that we didn’t know were lost. Sometimes it is easy in this life to get so busy that we lose track of what is truly important. We sacrifice things of value for the fleeting and temporary things of this world. We are reminded in the story of the prodigal son of how that worked for him.

He took the money his father gave him, spent it on fun and frolic. But when it was gone so were his “friends”. When he realized he still had life to live he wondered if he could go home. Maybe he could be a slave in His father’s house, for they had a better life than he was living.

Luke 15:17-24; NLT; “When he finally came to his senses, he said to himself, ‘At home even the hired servants have food enough to spare, and here I am dying of hunger! I will go home to my father and say, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son. Please take me on as a hired servant.”’

“So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. His son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.’

“But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.

We can all come home again. Our value doesn’t rest in what we can do or possess. Our value rests in the one who created us, loves us and desires to have a relationship with us. A Savior who went to the cross to show his love for us. Let us take the time that has been made available to us to reflect and return home to God our Father. When we do only then will we see the value that He puts in each of us. The value that never changes and never fades away.

Romans 8:35a, 38-39; NLT; Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love?… 

… I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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.