“You. May. Die.” Those three words actually promote a grueling, annual competition in Vermont known as the Death Race. It claims to be the most physically demanding and difficult race in the world.
Its home page boasts that in a prior competition “racers faced 3,000 burpees, an all night trek over the infamous Bloodroot Gap, a 30,000-foot rope pull, and a Guinness World Record claiming 12-hour crawl under barbed wire. Expect the unexpected in 2022, but be sure more records and spirits will be broken. This race will change your life if you are courageous enough to commit today.”
A race named Death will change your life? You might think that danger would make people timid. But the opposite is true: It makes them bold and brave. As long as they’re focused on the right thing. And, yes, people have died in the Death Race.
Listen to me now. The great tragedy of life is not that people die for their beliefs. It is that people come to the end of life without anything to live or to die for.
What about you? What about our church? It’s so tempting for us to turn away from risk and focus on comfort and personal preferences that make our lives pleasant.
“Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ … For it has been granted to you on behalf of Christ not only to believe in him, but also to suffer for him (Philippians 1:27,29).
“You. May. Die.” Death Race participants must sign the waiver, but not in blood.
“You. May. Die.” Jesus signed up for that, too. In blood. He lived and he died for the right thing, his one thing. You.
“You. May. Die.” What if new members at CrossLife signed that three-word waiver when they joined our church? Would this repel them or attract them?
I pray that our example, our living for the right thing and ready to die for him like he died for us, would attract them to be bold and brave.
And, by the way, Jesus does ask us to die for him even now. To die to our selfish interests. To die to needing ourselves to be ahead and first and in the best seat and given the most attention. To sign up for a dangerous race or responsibility that may not end well, but in faith we focus on Jesus.
And then we truly live.
PRAYER: Dear Jesus, your death was painful but produced salvation and life. By faith I want to die to selfishness and sin, and live for you. Make me bold and brave. Help me lead others to true life. Amen.
FURTHER MEDITATION: Read Paul’s testimony in Philippians 1:20-26. It will inspire you to die and live for Christ.