Next month, Speedweeks will crank up once again and Daytona will come alive with the roar of engines as NASCAR launches a new season of stock car racing. Having followed NASCAR a bit in recent years, I am continually amazed at how many people it takes to keep a car competing at motor racing’s highest level. We hear much about the drivers and crew chiefs. We even hear about the owners and, occasionally, the members of the pit crews. But that is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg—an iceberg that occasionally is revealed when a winning driver says thanks to the “other guys.” These are the guys who are seldom at the race track—the engineers who design the cars and test them, the guys in the fab (fabrication) shop who build those cars, the engine guys who fine-tune those 900-horsepower engines. These are the people who work without fanfare or acclaim but find their own success in helping to secure the success of another. It is yet another portrait of the team player who labors behind-the-scenes so that someone else can take the bows and earn the trophies.
As I think about this idea in a biblical context, two names come to mind. Though not utterly unfamiliar to us, they are not the first people we think of when pondering the giants of the Scriptures—nevertheless, they were instrumental in the success of two of the giants of the early church. Their names? Aquila and Priscilla. Not only did they work behind the scenes in support of the world-shaking ministry of the apostle Paul (Acts 18:2-3), they were also instrumental in the training of another early church leader and spokesman, Apollos. In Acts 18:26, we read:
So he [Apollos] began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.
Aquila and Priscilla had a profound ministry of influence, but it was not by being onstage or in the spotlight. Their ministry was rooted in the challenge to influence influencers. To shape people whose platform would exceed theirs and see spiritual success measured in the changed lives of others. Obviously, this kind of ministry requires humility and self-awareness, for our natural tendency is to want to be acclaimed in our own right. But there is something very special about a highly competent person who takes the secondary role so that others can have the greatest possible impact for the kingdom. Such a heart attitude is pretty rare, but it mirrors the heart of Christ, who humbled Himself and became a servant in order to accomplish the Father’s purposes. And there is no better example than that.
Join us tomorrow on Sports Spectrum radio as we take a further look at the need for teamwork and humility in life and in sports.
Bill Crowder, Sports Spectrum Chaplain