Where change happens.
OK, let's get real about the rat race. Work is the assignment of mankind since God declared the sinfulness of Adam and Eve in the Garden. Of a truth, we all are consigned to the workplace for the wherewithal to gather and sustain the necessities of life. Many of us are maniacs about our standard of living and as a result, actively compete for the morsels at the end of the maze. Besides being a rat race, it is also a dog eat dog world where the winner is thought to get the real goodies. Even those of us earnestly seeking "the Kingdom of God and his righteousness" (see Matthew 6:33) get caught in the congestion and traffic. Being a part of the rate race has become a natural habitat for most of us.
Scripture is clear about our influence in that kind of world. We all know by now that Jesus intended for his people to be in that world but not of it. We should never be one of the rats. At the same time there's the realization that life isn't a competitive race, even though the long-distance race motif is mentioned in Scripture a few times. It's a journey. How we navigate that journey is much more than possessing the physical necessities that enable it. What is more, we're not intended to cloister ourselves from the multitudes attacking the maze. Our light is supposed to shine in the rat race too, even if we're just part of the traffic pattern.
How we navigate life is a heart issue. I personally favor a passage from the Apostle Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians in that regard. He wrote to them about redeeming the time. He made it clear that making the best use of our time wasn't improvising a change of pace or devising a sleek, well-formatted schedule.
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the
time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will
of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with
the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and
making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to
God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of
reverence for Christ.
Ephesians 5:15-21, ESV
Five things inform me about living in a rat race world.
1. Making best use of my time is about living wisely.
2. Making best use of my time is about knowing God's will for my life.
3. Making best us of my time requires spiritual discernment.
4. Making best use of my time is a heart issue.
5. Making best use of my time requires a joyous approach to life.
The rat race is real. This became more evident to me as I approached retirement from active pastoral ministry. You can take it to the bank, every retired person who advised me about what to expect in retirement told me they were busier and more stressed than when they were on the clock in the rat race world. It confirmed that dealing with a world like this one is not necessarily about work, commuting, being the trolley for the busy children, or owning state of the art electronic scheduling systems.
The kind of change needed to navigate in the rat race world happens only in the heart. Hat tip to Solomon, who wrote---
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
Proverbs 4:12, NIV
Change happens in the heart.
Copyright: <a href='https://www.123rf.com/profile_maxkabakov'>maxkabakov / 123RF Stock Photo</a>