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 Chapel Service

Brainerd Int’l Raceway

May 24, 2013


“Ambition, Goals, & Motivation”

Bob Butcher


 Is ambition wrong? Is it wrong to be driven, to push to be the best?

Wow! …what a question in our sport!!!

Have you ever sat down and simply thought about that?  I have, since I have been there.  Is it okay to eat, sleep, think, dream racing?  I can easily say that I have been there for sure, …especially in my teen days.  How many days of a school year …even with multiple feet of snow on the ground, …did I sit in my school classroom looking out the window thinking about heading to Daytona coming up and the next racing season?  Well, LOTS!  To the point of driving my teachers and parents nuts!

 Let’s face it.  We are in a sport that pretty much demands that ambition, drive, and push to be the best.  It takes years of that drive, focus, and attention to detail and constant change in the smallest detail in equipment, driving technique, science and technology.  Add to that the demand to acquire & keep sponsorships to be able to be out there.  If we become lax in any tiny area we no longer lead the pack, but run mid pack…or worse.

So then …How do we approach this question? What need we consider?

The answer to the question …”is it wrong: “

It can be. The difference between right and wrong ambition or drive is in our goal and motivation—whether it’s for God’s glory or our own.

In 1 Thessalonians 4:1, Paul tells us that Christians are to live lives “to please God.  “We ask you—urge is more like it—that you keep on doing what we told you to do to please God, …BUT, … not in a demanding religious plod, but in a living, spirited dance through life. You know the guidelines we laid out for you from the Lord Jesus. God wants you to live a pure life.”     (GBB)

” For some, the drive to please Him is an instant transformation at the time of salvation; for others, the transformation is full of stumbles, trial and error and mistakes. Whether the change happens instantly or gradually, the Christian is to pursue God’s goals, not our own selfish ones. 

Yes, that selfishness, pride of accomplishment, talent, and self worth is human nature, of course.  However, have we stopped to think where that ability, gifting, and talent we have which can be developed to do what we do …(whether drive a race car, go over the wall on a pit stop, or whatever your endeavor) …came from in the first place?

Scripture is very clear that God places those talents within us to accomplish the things He set before us and “called” us to do for Him in each of our lives. 

So, within our arena of life, whatever our workplace; we must ask: “How can my skill and job help me serve others and glorify God?” Ambition oriented toward God is focused outward on Him and others. We must be always asking how He has gifted us and wants to use us.

The cool deal is that while we can still stand in Victory Lane and celebrate and receive all the credit for our accomplishment we can learn to still place God first by sharing hope, encouragement, and even simple love to others watching on TV or surrounding us.  And don’t get me wrong here… I am not talking about a cheap show of our faith with a sterile “thanks to God” or “praise” we sometimes see that most anyone can see through. 

Paul suggests we do what we do with “sincerity of heart, fearing God” in Colossians 3: 22 – 24: “Whether you are a slaves, a servant, or employee, obey and do what you are told by your earthly masters in everything; and do it, not only when their eye is on you and to seek their favor, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as if you are working for the Lord, not for human masters,  since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. Always keep in mind that it is the Lord Christ you are really serving.”              (GBB)

So, whatever we’re doing—in the board room, on the docks, in the race shop, wherever we’re working—we’re to serve as if doing it for God Himself.

We glorify Him most and enjoy Him most when we work with fervor and excellence for His pleasure, not ours …but for His service and the service of others, not our self-service and personal gain—because He deserves our all.  But, as I said …the trophy, the credit, the allocates, still come to us and when we glorify Him FIRST  then we will smile and enjoy it all the more.

We can close with this prayer daily as we walk out our door to meet the day:

“Lord, help me to apply my zeal o my work efforts today in everything I do and with everyone I speak to and work with that I might please You first. I offer my actions and words today as a testimony to bring You the glory I desire too.  Please use me today to point others to You. Amen.”

Otherwise …

“We grow small trying to be great.” —Eli Stanley Jones, missionary

Have a safe and prosperous race today!