“After his baptism, as Jesus came up out of the water, the heavens were opened Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us” – Hebrews 12:1
We live in a time-crunch, rat race world. Everything we do seems to be urgent. Stress levels are rising with each passing day if we are not careful. We live under such intense pressure, running from one appointment to the next, that we often overlook some of the most important things in life.
Tyler and Brittany are a pretty typical couple. Not unlike many couples on the Emerald Coast. They dated and after a year or so fell in love and made the decision to marry. Like most couples, they wanted the good life so they poured themselves into a career, to raising a family. They didn’t worry about the bills piling up. They moved into a new house within walking distance of the gulf. They had a nice SUV and a cool European import. In many ways, they were living the good life, but their debts and responsibilities just kept mounting up. They became discouraged. There were bills to pay, kids to pick up from daycare, quotas to meet, and not much time to enjoy all of the possessions they had been accumulating. Arguments took the place of peaceful evenings; disunity replaced unity. Tension mounted. The marriage was on thin ice. It was at this time that Tyler remembered the lyrics from a song: “Like a rat in a maze; The path before me lies, And the pattern never alters; Until the rat dies.” ( Patterns by Simon and Garfunkel)
The idea of a rat race is a fairly modern tale of materialism, but materialism existed in Jesus’ day. People were caught up in accumulating possessions and wealth above all else, just like today. Is it God’s will for His people to be trapped in this rat race? We often get trapped in the rat race out of fear. We fear that our children won’t get into the right college, or that we will have enough money for today and for the future. We are afraid we won’t have a dependable car or the latest technology to make life a little easier. Francis Chan said, “Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but at succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter at all.” But the question we have to ask ourselves is this: at the end of the day will all the things we do to win the rat race matter when we stand before God’s throne?
The book of Ecclesiastes talks about this subject. In chapter 3 Solomon says, “Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end…And I know that whatever God does is final. Nothing can be added to it or taken from it. God’s purpose is that people should fear him.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11, 14) Introduce God into the rat race and the rat race suddenly changes.
No matter how hard we try, we can never beat the “rat race” of life through our own efforts. It is only when we stop running; when we learn to be quiet before God and trust Him, that He can show compassion on us and walk intimately with us. All of us who are in the rat race are chasing the same stuff, and most of it rots, rusts, or corrodes. Chase God. Chase eternity. Chase a relationship with Jesus Christ, with God’s family, and you’re chasing something that just gets greater after the grave.
- Why are we so easily drawn into the rat race?
- What can we do this week to ensure we are running the right race and not the rat race?