The 2006 Kentucky Derby was a blowout. A horse named Barbaro took the lead in America’s most famous race and left every other horse in the dust. Barbaro won the Kentucky Derby by an astonishing 6 1/2 lengths! Many thought that horse could go on to be one of the few who has ever won the Triple Crown of three championship races. Sadly, an injury ended that dream. But it didn’t take away the glory of Barbaro’s dramatic Kentucky Derby victory. The horse was only part of the story that day. In some ways, the bigger story was that of Barbaro’s trainer, Michael Matz. Eighteen years earlier, Michael Matz had been a passenger on an airplane flight that crashed in an Iowa cornfield. During the flight, he had struck up conversations with three young children who were traveling that day without their parents. Then came the crash. Many died that day as the plane caught fire. Survivors were struggling to find a way out of the burning wreckage, but all Michael Matz could think about was those three children. He risked his life to find all of them and bring them out alive. And on that day, when the horse Michael trained crossed that finish line, there was jubilant celebrating in the box where he was watching. Michael Matz, his wife, and the three (now grownup) children whose lives he had saved eighteen years before.
I hope that we aren’t content to just get out of the burning wreckage of sin ourselves. What is going to make heaven that much sweeter is that you have one there beside you when you cross over. As you look at the legacy of your life so far, do you see many people that you have pointed to Jesus? Can you see some folks who will be in heaven because you were part of helping them go there?