Jeff Gordon is retiring. Whether you love him or hate him, odds are he comes to mind when you think about NASCAR. He was the face of the sport for more than 20 years, and many little race fans wanted to be like him.
You probably remember Gordon as the guy who drove the rainbow-colored DuPont car. And for good reason. DuPont shelled out tens of millions of dollars to his team every year.
But Gordon didn’t pocket the money and run. He never said, “I got my paycheck, so I’m going to hit the lake this weekend. You guys can take care of the race, right?”
No, he faithfully sported DuPont everywhere he went. DuPont was plastered on his racecar, his racesuit, his helmet, his hat, and his polo shirt. He mentioned DuPont in every interview. He did commercials for them. He made public appearances on their behalf.Here’s what’s most incredible to me: After a long, hot race, he’d be exhausted, dehydrated, and ticked off at that other driver for wrecking him on lap 50. He would want to cool down in his RV, not talk to some nosy reporter. But the first words that would come out of his mouth were, “I would like to thank DuPont…”
Jeff Gordon lived for DuPont. The company simply gave Gordon money, but he showed his allegiance to them by representing them everywhere he went.
Jesus has given us a much greater gift — a gift so amazing that it took the Apostle Paul eleven chapters to explain to the church at Rome. Here are the highlights.
Paul established our great problem — our sin:
- “None is righteous, no, not one.” (Romans 3:10b)
- “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)
- “For the wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23a)
But then he pointed to God’s greater solution — Jesus’ sacrifice.
- “But God show his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
- The gospel “is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.” (Romans 1:16b)
- And though sin deserves death, “the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23b)
- “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1)
In light of this gift, which Paul calls “the mercies of God,” he urges us to “present [our] bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship” (Romans 12:1).
This is striking imagery. All of his readers — Jews and Gentiles — were accustomed to offering sacrifices. This was a key part of their religion. In order to appease God, people would bring an animal and give it all to God. But Paul has already explained in Romans that Jesus was your sacrifice. So, Paul said, don’t worry about rams and goats anymore — instead, give God your whole life.
Don’t put an animal the altar, put yourself on it.
He describes the offering with three adjectives.
- First, be living. In other words, let your whole life be for God’s glory.
- Second, be holy Be set apart from the world.
- Third, be a sacrifice acceptable to God — which is the natural result of living a life set apart for God.
This, he says, is true worship. Living your life completely for God.
Jeff Gordon was a living sacrifice for DuPont, and he dedicated his life to them. So ask yourself: How would your life be different if you, like Gordon, were a living sacrifice for God, who gave you so much more?
- If your mouth were a sacrifice for God, how would you speak differently?
- If your mind were a sacrifice for God, how would you think differently?
- If your hands were a sacrifice for God, what links would you not click?
- If your eyes were a sacrifice to God, what movies would you not watch?
- If your wallet were a sacrifice to God, how would you give differently?
- If your feet were a sacrifice to God, where would you go?
These are the kinds of questions we should ask ourselves daily. Which one hit you? You see, because of the gift God has given us, we can be like Jeff Gordon — in a way that truly matters.
Editor’s Note: This post was adapted from of a sermon I preached on Romans 12:1-2.