History was made last week in Louisville, Kentucky. The 145th running of the Kentucky Derby took place on Saturday, May 4, 2019 and for the first time in race history, the horse that crossed the finish line first was not declared the winner, but was disqualified for race interference. If you didn’t get a chance to watch the race, here is a recap.
The Kentucky Derby is touted as the greatest two minutes in sports and 19 horses lined up for the contest on a sloppy, rain-drenched track. The horse named Maximum Security was one of the favorites to win. This particular Thoroughbred led the entire race and indeed crossed the finish line before the others, but after an objection was made and the videos were reviewed, it was clear that Maximum Security had drifted out of his lane, bumping into the horse next to him and hindering the stride of several horses, namely War of Will, Long Range Toddy, Bodexpress, and Code of Honor. (Don’t you just love horse names!)
Unlike NASCAR, rubbing isn’t racing, and the rules in Kentucky that apply to horse racing provide for the disqualification of a horse if it shifts its position in a manner that impedes or interferes with another horse, costing that horse a better place in the race. Ultimately, the path that Maximum Security chose cost him the crown!
The same is true for us. Our future is determined by the choices we make and the path we choose. This is true for the high school graduate, the convicted offender, the veteran, the senior citizen, the farmer, the teacher, the secretary, the mom… all people. It can cost us our finances, our relationships, our reputations, our life. The path we choose leads to victory or defeat, to eternal life or eternal death.
As I consider our paths, I have come to the conclusion that we are often tempted to take the path of least resistance, to seek an avenue of ease and comfort, routes that don’t look too different or require too much change. We tend to justify the lane we are in and we like our pathways to be wide and relaxed, giving us plenty of room to move around.
But Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:13-14, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” The Way that Jesus is talking about is himself. Jesus is the way. He is the way to the Father. He is the way to salvation. He is the way to eternal life. Jesus’ own words are recorded in John 14:6: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” We, then, are called to be followers of The Way, to be in the world, but not of the world, to be set apart and distinct. Our path is a different one.
There are many verses in the Bible that talk about our path, but one of my favorites is Proverbs 3:5-6. It says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.”
It would have been a game changer for Maximum Security if he had stayed on a straight path. It’s a game changer for you too. Are you on the right path? Are you following The Way to life or the road of destruction? May each of us live the words of Psalm 25:4: “Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths.”