Last weekend, I attended the 61st running of the Daytona 500. It was my fifth time attending the "Great American Race," as it is often called. The nearly four-hour race left me with a full heart after a really emotional and inspirational win for driver Denny Hamlin and team owner Joe Gibbs. It wasn't just the circumstances that left me inspired, though, it was the demonstration of faith and love that was displayed.
I met former Redskins Coach Joe Gibbs hours before the race as I was leaned up against a metal guard fence waiting on drivers autographs. Coach Gibbs, who is known as a man of high faith, lost his son, JD Gibbs, more than a month prior, due to a neurological illness. It was a death that shook not only the race team, but the sport.
As he was meeting with fans, he took small paper booklets out of his pocket and signed the front of them, just small enough for the recipient to read the print. I received one of those booklets and inside was the story of Jesus Christ and how we can be saved by the grace of Him. I couldn't help but smile and think about the people who have read that booklet and have come to know Christ as a result of the witnessing shown by Coach Gibbs, regardless of his position of circumstances.
The pageantry of the race didn't phase Coach Gibbs, in fact, it was his opportunity to spread the good news of the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ with all 150,000 people in attendance. That was only the very first race of the season. With 35 more races to go, think of how many other people will receive the good news through Coach Gibbs' faith.
"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:19-20)