“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only. ... Therefore you also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (Matthew 24:36, 44)
When the Hendrick Motorsports plane with down in 2004 just outside of Martinsville Speedway, killing ten HMS employees—including owner Rick Hendrick’s brother, John, and son, Ricky—Donnie Floyd, who worked in the paint and body shop, recalled what John Hendrick always said at the end of the Bible studies he led at HMS.
“One thing he always spoke about at the end of every message he had was, ‘Make sure you’re ready. Always be ready,’” Floyd said on the Sports Spectrum podcast in May 2018. “What he meant by that is be ready when your time comes—that you’ll leave this life and go into eternity.”
The year before the accident, Floyd had been considering going back to police work, but his wife reminded him that he might not be at HMS for himself. He might be there for someone else. So he stayed.
“When that plane crashed, it really changed the dynamic of the way I looked at people,” Floyd continued. “It kinda took me back to my policing days and I was reminded when I was in law enforcement that life is fragile. Life is not promised to any of us. We’re not promised tomorrow. We’re given today, and we’re to make the best of it.”
Floyd said the accident was a catalyst—a reminder that God wanted to use him there at HMS, but he wasn’t sure how. Some feared that maybe the Bible study would be discontinued after the plane crash. But HMS brought in a chaplain from Motor Racing Outreach for a while and kept it going. One week in 2015 when the chaplain wasn’t able to make it, someone needed to step up. Floyd did so, reluctantly. Eventually, he left the shop to become the full-time chaplain at HMS.
He now leads the John Hendrick Fellowship Lunch every Wednesday at HMS where over a hundred employees attend the Bible study that the team offers to employees who want to attend.
John Hendrick was ready—not in the sense that he knew when he would perish, but in the sense that he made the best of the time he was given. Floyd was ready, too—ready to step into the gap when his name was called.
How about you? Are you living in such a fashion that you could say you are ready if Christ were to return today? Or if he were to call you home to heaven? How might your life change if you lived with that perspective always at the forefront of your mind?
In the spirit of John Hendrick, make sure you’re ready.
This was an excerpt from Racing for Christ: 50 Devotions for NASCAR Fans. If you enjoyed it, click the link to order or download a copy of the book.