Lasting Legacies

NASCAR legend Richard Petty and his son Kyle have been racing cars for decades. And Richard’s father, Lee Petty, was one of the pioneers in the sport.

Richard is known as The King by his colleagues because of his accomplishments on the racetrack. In his 35-year career, he ran 1184 races and claimed a record 200 wins, seven Daytona 500 victories and seven NASCAR Cup titles, a feat that only the late Dale Earnhardt Sr. managed to equal.

Richard’s commitment to excellence is demonstrated by his straightforward and simple philosophy of life. He says, “When you get up in the morning, you ask, ‘Can I do a little better than I did yesterday?’ That’s the challenge of not just staying the same. Can we make our business a little better? Can we help somebody today who we didn’t help yesterday? It’s just life.”

Richard and Kyle Petty are big supporters of Motor Racing Outreach, which provides a weekly chapel service each Sunday morning at the site of each race, plus other chaplaincy ministries throughout the week.

Kyle Petty has wisely taken the advice found in Job 8:8-9.

Read Job 8:8-9 (HCSB)
8 For ask the previous generation, and pay attention to what their fathers discovered, 9 since we were ⌊born only⌋ yesterday and know nothing. Our days on earth are but a shadow.

  • How often do you ask for advice from others?
  • As you strive for excellence, what can you gain by following the admonition found in Job 8:8-9?
  • How has paying attention to the “previous generation” taught you valuable lessons about athletics or life in general?

Read Proverbs 13:22 (HCSB)
22 A good man leaves an inheritance to his grandchildren, but the sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous.

  • What are some examples of “an inheritance” that someone could leave to his or her children and grandchildren?
  • What kind of inheritance or treasure (whether physical or spiritual) do you hope to leave those who follow in your footsteps?

Read Psalm 61:5-8 (HCSB)

5 God, You have heard my vows; You have given a heritage to those who fear Your name. 6 Add days to the king’s life; may his years span many generations. 7 May he sit enthroned before God forever; appoint faithful love and truth to guard him. 8 Then I will continually sing of Your name, fulfilling my vows day by day.

  • What does David suggest are some key elements to a godly legacy?
  • What are some of the blessings that accompany that kind of lifestyle?
  • How does having the wrong focus (worrying about what others think of you) hinder your legacy?

PRAYER: “Heavenly Father, thank you for the godly example of friends and family that I have. Help me to pass along that legacy to those who come behind me by my example of faith in Jesus Christ daily.”

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Adapted from Excellence: True Champions Pursue Greatness In All Areas Of Life, Chapter 7, “Lasting Legacies,” produced by Fellowship of Christian Athletes

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