Weekly Word: Running the Rat Race
By Rob Williams, Lead Pastor at The Bridge Church
Life’s hard! Not every decision we make is the best one.
We might wake up some mornings and feel like we’ve got it all together, but if we’re honest, other mornings — maybe even a lot of mornings — we don’t feel like that.
Other mornings we’re slugging it out of bed. Other mornings we’ve hit the snooze button too many times. Other mornings, we’re regretting staying up as late as we did to get that little bit of extra peace and quiet, and now we’re paying for it.
Other mornings — maybe even a lot of mornings — we feel like we’re just in another part of the rat race.
You know that exhaustingly, competitive way of life that we are trying to keep up with.
That way of life that demands we have a bit nicer of a car than we can afford. That way of life that demands we go to all of the events we’re invited to.
That way of life that demands we let our kids go to every little thing that their heart desires because, well, we wouldn’t want them to miss out on an opportunity. That way of life that means we’re carting them from social events to practices to games to tournaments and back again.
That way of life that demands we never say no to anyone in need. That way of life that demands we always do the right thing and be the right person, at the right time so that we can keep up that right image we’ve been trying to maintain for so long.
It’s a rat race.
I think a woman by the name of Lily Tomlin hits the nail on the head when she talks about the problem with the rat race. She writes, “The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win it, you are still the rat.”
Even if we accomplish all of our goals, burning the candle at both ends, running as hard as we possibly can for way too long, we still end up the rat when it’s all said and done.
There’s a story in Scripture about two sisters named Mary and Martha. Martha welcomes Jesus into their home and is preparing to entertain Jesus and his disciples, but she becomes overwhelmed with all of the things that have to be done in order to accomplish this.
Meanwhile, her sister Mary is simply sitting at Jesus’ feet, hanging out with Jesus, not doing anything to help.
At one point, Martha becomes so overwhelmed that in her frustration she cries out to Jesus, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.”
Here’s the thing, though. Jesus doesn’t give her the answer many of us might expect. He simply replies, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
It’s as though Jesus was saying, “Martha you are running this race and doing all of these things and worrying about all this stuff that I never expected of you. Put them down and come sit down with me.”
Are you tired? Are you burnt out? Do you celebrate when an obligation gets cancelled because you’ve been going so hard for so long?
Allow me to challenge you. What if the race you’re running was never what God intended for you in the first place? What if God never intended for us to feel like the rat?
Maybe this year, it’s time to put something down, healthy or unhealthy. Maybe this year, it’s time to stop trying to be everything for everyone.
Maybe this year the kids don’t have to be a part of every sport or program or opportunity that comes across their path. Maybe this year it’s time stop packing out the calendar that we might slow down and get out of the rat race.
God never intended for you to be the rat.