With Denny Hamlin’s 6 wins—capped by an impressive performance at Richmond last Saturday night—he stands atop the Sprint Cup standings as NASCAR’s version of the playoffs begin this weekend in New Hampshire. Hamlin and his fellow Cup “chasers” have only ten races to secure a championship, and so there is no time to waste. One bad race can effectively ruin a team’s chances, so those top twelve drivers had better be ready to go. It is game on for the NASCAR title. As we face circumstances and events in life, it seems that, often, in the moments that we most need to be ready, we are unprepared. The apostle Paul viewed this challenge in two ways. He was ready to serve whenever the door of service was open to him, and he was ready to pay the price if necessary for that service. Notice two different statements he made:

Ready to Serve: “Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.” (2 Timothy 4:2)

Ready to Pay the Price of Service: “For I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.” (Acts 21:13b)

We cannot predict what opportunities or challenges we may face in living for Christ, but with His help we can learn to prepare. And, most of all, we can do all that we can by His grace to make sure that our hearts are sensitive to the moments that life might offer us to say a word for the Savior. The challenge is to try and be ready. Like the drivers in NASCAR’s Chase for the Cup, we dare not waste the opportunity! Bill Crowder, Sport Spectrum Chaplain