Learning from NASCAR?
The last NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Martinsville (4/1/07) ended very dramatically. Two teammates fought for the checkered flag--Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon. Johnson crossed the finish line while not budging for his teammate (and co-owner) to pass him by. This end generated some tasty gossip on Gordon and Johnson's relationship, emphasizing Gordon's anger. I couldn't help but get caught up. I found a quote from ESPN.com on NASCAR driver ethics:
"If helping you doesn't hurt me, I'm happy to do it. If helping you might hinder my chances of winning, sorry pal, you're on your own."
Reading that quote made me think that this sort of thinking is very typical of competitors of all sorts, including individuals in society and church.
Now, think about this quote after Good Friday and Easter Sunday. Most people think about their spirituality in terms of the NASCAR driver. They/we think that helping others must both benefit another and myself simultaneously. Do you think about giving, sharing, helping in terms of a NASCAR driver? Jesus, and the church at its best, seeks to give and love for the sake of the other's need and benefit. If we have a cup of cold water, we should give it to the one who is thirsty. If that is our last then we have something to think about--should I love my neighbor or love myself?
I hope the racing ethics remain on the track and stay out of my church and spirituality.