Must Enter to Win

            Coming off a win in the Nationwide Series race, Kyle Busch was headed for a weekend sweep at Phoenix International Raceway. His was the fastest car on the track. Jimmie Johnson, NASCAR’s champion for the four previous years, had another strong start on the 2010 season. His Hendrick Motorsports teammates Jeff Gordon and Mark Martin each hoped to add to the team’s six consecutive wins at Phoenix. Any of these drivers seemed a good bet to make.

            When the checkered flag dropped, however, Ryan Newman – a driver who led only two laps that day and hadn’t won a cup race in two years – pulled in to Victory Lane. Nothing that transpired during the race to move Newman to the front would have mattered if he hadn’t cranked up the 39 car that day.

            A similar thing happened when the prophet Samuel was sent to find King Saul’s successor from among Jesse’s sons. He thought sure he was looking at the new king when he met the tall, good-looking eldest son, Eliab. But God told him not to consider appearances, saying, “The Lord does not look at the things man looks on.” (1 Samuel 16:7a) Jesse paraded seven fine sons before Samuel, but God approved none of them. Then Samuel asked Jesse if there were any others. “There is still the youngest,” Jesse answered, “but he is tending the sheep.” That day, at Samuel’s insistence, the most unlikely candidate among Jesse’s sons was presented to the priest to be King Saul’s successor. Despite his low standing, David was anointed king of Israel.

            To accomplish anything you are called by God to do, you must first be available. If you don’t enter the race, you’ll miss your chance when your appointed time comes. So, ladies and gentlemen: Start. Your. Engiiiiines!

I have seen something else under the sun: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant, or favor to the learned: but time and chance happen to them all.”  Ecclesiastes 9:11