Rat Race Theology

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Have you noticed our culture idolizes the Rat Race?

When was the last time you asked someone how they are doing and they did not answer with: “I’ve been busy”

Isn’t that the standard American answer? We are all… busy. The Rat Race is defined by busyness and achievement. We must multitask. Buy more technology to get more things done, faster. Do more with less time. Go to bed later and get up earlier.

For, achievement is our god.

The Rat Race is what we love. Because in the Rat Race we find importance, identity, and even value. Think about it.  Don’t we think more highly of those who are leading the pack in the Rat Race?

Average is weakness in the Rat Race.

Ordinary is not good enough.

Rat Race theology says: You must take this ordinary, average life and make it better. Average? Nope! That won’t do.

“In a culture that rhapsodizes over every achievement and idolizes many of those who stand out, it is easy for the church to drink from the same intoxicating elixir and swoon over gifted expectations.”  D.A. Carson

This drives people to find a new city, get a new job, or land a new spouse. Because, the old one…. well, it’s not that it’s bad it’s just… average.

Reinvent yourself

Make a splash

Work more hours

Gotta get ahead

Are you buying into the Rat Race Theology?

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Last year I was on vacation with my family. (By the way, have you noticed we can bring the Rat Race on vacation with us? What is wrong with us!?) We had some in between down time. The idiot box, I mean the TV, was in front of us and my youngest popped it on. The Lego Movie had just begun. I had not heard of the Lego Movie and when it came on I assumed it was going to be dumb.

Have you seen it?

It is incredible! Instantly we were all laughing.

Favorite part?

The driving song of the movie. “Everything is Awesome!” If you have seen the movie than you know what I amLego Movie talking about. When you read the title, you probably smiled a little. In the world of Lego, Everything is Awesome, which means… nothing is.

It is also the theme song of the Rat Race. Everything is awesome. God forbid, we or something we are engaged in, is not….awesome. What if our careers and dreams are just… average. How incredibly terrible would that be!

What if at the end of our lives, all we have done is served the Lord with the mundane tasks He has put before us? How awful?

“Everyone wants a revolution, no one wants to do the dishes.”  Michael Horton

At the end of the movie Emmet says to Lord Business:

lego-movie“You don’t have to be the bad guy. You are the most talented, most interesting, most extraordinary person in the universe….”  (Pause – and then Emmet adds) “And so is EVERYBODY.”

Because everybody is awesome – that is the only rule in the Rat Race.

The Rat Race gets better.

How crazy are we?  We mock the Rat Race. We talk down about it. We know the Rat Race is not good. We counsel others to get out of the Rat Race and yet…. we lust for it, pursue it, and we are incredibly jealous of those who are out in front of the race!

Is that not insane? We mock the Rat Race and then strive with all that is in us, to get in the lead of that very race!

Friends, the Rat Race can be the death of relationship, family, pursuit of God, sitting on the couch with your spouse and children, having a meal without the cell phone close enough so you can reply to the text that just came in…. because it’s soooo important.  The Rat Race is the death of real relationships and communication.

God save us from the Rat Race

Further Study:  Read Ordinary By Michael Horton

Or

Listen to this sermon about average, Simeon:  iPlod

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4 thoughts on “Rat Race Theology”

  1. Just read this. So true and so easy to be sucked in! When too busy gets in the way of things that matter, then change needs to happen. May I constantly keep this in mind to evaluate my priorities and let go of the thousand “to-do’s” that I always want to get done.

  2. Good points, Tim. Good quotes, too. Good cultural perspective…maybe bring some more of the lens of scripture to bear on this issue. Psalm 46:10 is one I’ve been going back to lately…being still…

    The Rat Race is a problem that many know they’re caught up in yet don’t know how to get free.

    So have you read Crazy Busy by Kevin DeYoung?

    And…quoting a roadside sign I saw, “You are unique! Just like everybody else.” :)

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