Don't purchase a new day planner.
OK, it's a throwback, from way back. In the 1983 movie Baby Boom J.C. Wiatt is the tiger lady, a Wall Street yuppie business tycoon in a man's world. When she inherited a baby girl from a distant cousin she had to decide on life in fast lane New York City or a more rural, quieter setting. The plot is deeper than I can depict here. So, she moved to Vermont and launched a baby food production company which was extremely successful. I mean, profitable to the point that her former New York clients wanted to buy it for big bucks. So, J.C. traveled back to NYC for a meeting with the execs who made an offer for her Country Baby brand. After a few quiet, alone moments in the ladies room she returned to the conference table and refused their offer. She said, "The rat race will have to do with one less rat".
That quote comes to me often and was the life headline for most of us over the past weekend and today. Get in line for a little concentrated madness. Think about it. Most colleges around us re-populated this week. State officials predicted that as many as 1,000,000 guests would join South Carolinians for the spectacular solar eclipse. Many public schools are resuming this week after the short summer hiatus. Vacationers hit the highways for home sweet home. And, then, don't forget the times. These are the days of mobility and velocity, even without the seasonal traffic.
There was a time when summer meant setting the calendar aside, putting on the brakes for a couple of months, and stepping away from the rat race in a lower gear. Of course, that was then and this is now. Today, summer is just as frantic as the rest of the year, and perhaps even more so, as most of us try to squeeze relaxation and refreshment into the line-up of work, piano lessons, little league, scouts, dance lessons, aerobics, the gym, lawn maintenance, the d-i-y list, Angry Birds, and who knows what else. Suddenly, it's the rat race 365. Many of us are wondering what it takes to post the capitalized THE RAT RACE WILL HAVE TO DO WITH ONE LESS RAT over our home page. Maybe it's time to actually get a life!
The rat race is a relatively ugly word picture anyway. Here are sleazy rodents racing through the maze to capture a morsel of cheese. It portrays an exhausting, repetitive lifestyle that leaves little room for relaxation or enjoyment (click here for the Urban Dictionary article about the rat race). Financial planner Dave Ramsey summed up this kind of life in his popular sound byte---“We buy things we don’t need, with money we don’t have, to impress people we don’t like.” The rat race is the funding mechanism of such a world.
Our tendency is to purchase some new planning software or apps when we realize we've joined the multitudes in this repetitive cycle. Getting out of the rat race, however, involves decisions and actions at a deeper level. For Christians this truth is about our identity in Christ. John wrote that genuine faith creates a distance between us and the world operating on rat race values.
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of
the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the
desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And
the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides
1 John 2:15-17, ESV
Yes, of course, working for a living is our assignment since the Garden of Eden. Truly, we must provide for our families and insure their safety and well-being. Achieving a standard of living is only sinful if it is the lord and master of life---the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life---as detailed above by john. But, being in the rat race means we're just another one of the rats pursuing a measly morsel at the finish line. And, guess what? We're not rats. And God has more for us at the finish than a nibble of cheese.
In the rat race? Don't purchase a new calendar program yet. Read on this week so you too can announce that there will be one less rat in the race in the days ahead.
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