The Formula

Many years ago, my husband and I were involved with the Sports Car Club of America and we attended many a race at Watkins Glen, NY. One afternoon, I found myself standing next to the track where the formula cars were primed for the race to begin. At the command, “Gentlemen, start your engines,” they simultaneously roared to life and it felt like the earth shook.  I was awestruck at the sudden release of raw power as they screamed onto the track. It was one of those special cameo moments we collect and keep all our lives.

A negative comment someone recently made about Christians and Christianity missing the mark when it comes to decent behavior, made me think of those formula cars.  If I compare Christianity to formula racing cars, it is because Christianity, as it was established by Jesus, is an all powerful vehicle to salvation. It goes far beyond every day, pedestrian “be a nice guy” philosophies. Established by God, this is the only way to win the race; the reason we exist in the first place.

But it seems we Christians are crashing our formula cars, causing huge pileups and wrecking havoc in some situations. Makes you wonder about Christianity. Maybe it doesn’t work any better than anything else. But before we ditch the car, let’s consider something.

A person doesn’t just climb into a formula car and take off without training. There are classes and learning resources to turn a sedan driver into a formula car driver.  A formula car needs a specific blend of oil and gas as well as a skilled pit crew.

Perhaps our formula cars (Christianity) are crashing because the drivers (we Christians) do not study well. We don’t do our homework or practice our techniques (read the Bible and apply it to our lives.) Then we put in any old oil and whatever gas is available and expect the thing to run. I would suggest that the only fuel for a Christian is God’s grace. Anything else, like my own efforts and merits or self help determination, will only clog up an engine made to run on grace only. On top of that, we race by the pit crew (our congregation and pastor)  that has the expertise to care for our cars and instead head for the local gas station where worldly philosophies flow through the pumps.

Like formula drivers, we Christians need to turn to our driver’s manual (Bible) regularly; we need to use only the right fuel and be a part of, and rely on, our pit crew.  Even then, we have trouble keeping our formula car on track but at least we won’t crash and create mayhem. For a breathtaking race, however, place the Designer in the driver’s seat and ride shotgun.


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