“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” –2 Timothy 4:7

 

There are at least 16 verses in the Bible that contain the word “race”. Some of them can be used in conjunction with an actual motorsports race (like the one above), while others would seem out of context.

 

Nevertheless, the word “race” is used several times as a metaphor for life in the Bible. Running the race set forth before us—and finishing—is emphasized several times while realizing our purpose in life.

 

Trevor Bayne seems to be realizing his.

 

Before Sunday, Trevor Bayne was far from being a household name. Even race fans who found themselves glued to the television on a weekly basis might have had a hard time explaining who Bayne was. A racecar driver with potential? A bright star? A great personality?

 

Now, Bayne is a Daytona 500 champion.

 

But he’s also something else: A Christian.

 

And he’s not afraid to show it.

 

Bayne posted this on Twitter just a few hours after winning the Daytona 500:

 

 

But it doesn’t stop there. In almost every single interview (and I saw almost only because I haven’t seen every interview to know for sure), Bayne has mentioned ways in which God has blessed him, his family, friends and race teams. We’ve heard from many people in that NASCAR community that have said Bayne participates in Bible studies or prays with them on a regular basis.

 

Bayne and his team even prayed before the Daytona 500, as they do before every race. Now he’s using the platform given to him to spread his message, even donating part of his 500 winnings to a charity close to his heart in Back2Back Ministries. According to their website, Back2Back Ministries serves “internationally by caring and providing for orphan children and needy people in Monterrey & Cancun, Mexico, Jos, Nigeria, and Hyderabad, India.  We serve locally through our Impact Ministry, which partners with local churches to equip students to be capable and effective leaders serving their campuses, communities, and the world.”

 

The racing industry is considered to be one of the last remaining family-friendly, Christian industries that exists. An invocation is given before every race, praying for the safety of the competitors week in and week out. Weekly worship services are held at the racetrack. Several people from the industry have compelling testimonies to share.

 

Sometimes, though, it seems like those types of people are fading. Religious controversies dominate so many headlines, and sharing your faith has become more frowned up than it used to. Even in Victory Lane, thanking the sponsors is much more common than thanking God.

 

I am a Christian myself. I don’t always act like it. I swear more than I should. I treat people—sometimes my own family—with disdain much too often. Sometimes non-Christians are better Christians than I am.

 

Anyone who is a follower of Christ knows very well that sometimes it’s difficult to continue on your walk with God. There are days you feel like throwing your hands in the air and giving up, deciding that going against the world is an impossible task. You get tired of the name calling, the unfriendly side-glances, and the unfair perceptions people have of you. It seems like an unwinnable fight.

 

With the risk of sounding cliché, Bayne is somewhat of a diamond in the rough. He’s gone from zero to hero in a matter of 24 hours and handled it with grace and charisma. He didn’t back down from his stance on Christianity and I can only imagine he will continue with his message as long as he’s given the platform to do so.

 

Bayne will more than likely have his missteps. He’ll say or do the wrong thing, and everyone will be there to judge and criticize. He’s only human, as we all are. For some, these instances will cause them to turn their backs. For those who have dealt with the judgmental attitudes of others before, a show of humanity will only cause them to truly appreciate the kind of person Bayne has already proven to be.

 

Bayne epitomizes the kind of person so many wish to be. He’s genuine, down-to-earth, and described as a “great guy” by all who have known or met him. You won’t hear an unkind word about him or his family. While I’ve never had the opportunity to personally speak with Bayne, I know that if I did he would be respectful, kind of courteous. That’s just the kind of person he is.

 

In other words, Bayne is a rare breed and someone all of us can look up to regardless of age.

 

“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” Acts 20:23-25