Jockey Mike Smith and the beautiful horse Justify take the Triple Crown trophy.
“’He’s sent from heaven,’” an emotional Smith said as he gazed up to those heavens, so humbled and so blessed and giving thanks to his Lord and Savior as he soaked up the love from the New York racing crowd he has forever embraced. The old jockey and the champion horse raced in complete harmony together. ‘He listens to me,’ Smith said. When Smith wanted Justify to relax, he relaxed. When Smith asked him to go, he went. ‘He was perfection today, he really was,’ Smith said. Smith was so at ease he took a nap before the biggest race of his life.” (New York Post June 9, 2018)
There are so many lessons we can learn from this great story of a hero jockey and a hero horse. One is that Mike Smith, the jockey, was so confident before the race, he could take a nap. He was a true Christian hero. Why? Like every real hero, he’d done the work, he’d pushed himself to go the extra mile, and he left the rest to God.
Mike Smith, at 52, is the oldest jockey to win the Triple Crown. Age didn’t matter to him. It didn’t matter to Steve Cauthen either, who was only 18 when he won the Triple Crown in 1978. Heroes come in all ages, sizes, sexes, nationalities, and personalities.
If we look at the heroes in the Bible: David, Joshua, Caleb, Gideon, Esther, Mary, Timothy, and all the rest—they all have the same characteristics. They did the work and accepted the challenge to go the extra mile for God.
David was a great shepherd before he was a giant killer. Gideon was good at taking care of his family before he became a magnificent warrior and saved his family and his people from their enemies. Esther was a humble, obedient wife before she saved an entire nation. We all have hero genes in us, capabilities to excel for the Lord.
Solomon was the wisest man ever. He put it very succinctly: “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.”
There you have it. We only have one chance to do this life, so let’s not be lazy. Let’s get our HERO on! First Corinthians 10:31 gives us excellent instruction: “Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.” And Matthew 5:41 is also good advice for heroes: “And whoever will compel thee to go one mile, go with him two.” Instead of doing just enough, we can excel at doing the extra, not for the praise of people, but for our God and His son Jesus our Lord.
God is always with us, and we can excel if we’re willing to give it a little extra effort. The rewards in Heaven are greater than anything we can ever imagine.
One final note on the race yesterday:
The horse, Justify, was magnificent. As I watched it run, the stretch and power of his muscles brought tears to my eyes; it was so beautiful.
The Lord led me to the following blurb, where the horse’s owner talked about how Justify got his name.
“’Single-word monikers are often ‘strong’ and ‘stallion kind of names,’ said Elliott Walden, WinStar’s president, and CEO. From his farm, they’re often rooted in Christian terms, too. That intersection resulted in Justify.
Walden said that the name comes from the New Testament book of Romans, which ‘talks about being justified by faith.’” (Horse Racing Nation June 10, 2018).
Have a hero’s week!
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