Escaping the Rat Race
By Patrick Roberts
Since I live in the city I am assaulted with advertisements from
the radio, TV and static billboards. I have to skip through
commercials before I can watch the DVD I just bought. I almost
throw important mail away in my attempts to sift through
mountains of junk mail. I endure up-selling every time I buy a
cup of coffee or fill up my car with gas. I don't answer my
phone if it's a number I don't recognize because I know it's
going to be a telemarketer. Tonight I tried to watch a
professional basketball game. Every time out, every statistical
report and every inch of the stadium was plastered with ads.
What do pool supplies and casinos have to do with basketball?
Just ask one of the star players, there he is hosting the ad!
Our sales-driven culture is wearying, especially to economically average people. Sales is not an end in itself, yet many people in the workforce today must adopt Sales as their daily religion. Sales can be a good thing, granted. It springs forth from a potentially healthy, capitalistic model. But the result of our take-take-take mentality is an ever-increasing class of people who do nothing but sales. They are called "Salesmen." Average folks who would love to do something honest for a living are forced to sell their bosses' products the other masses who buy the aforementioned products using the revenue they accumulated from commissions earned from selling their respective bosses' products, and so on.
This is the destructive futility of doing anything apart from God. This also hints at the oppressive tendency of any human system that tries to function apart from God. Godless men are driven by their insecurities to position themselves above others as they try to offset their giving with as much taking as possible.
Work apart from God must be meaningless and therefore also discouraging. If God is not making our work meaningful, then what is our meaning? To earn money? Earn money to spend on what? Feed our families? To what end? So that our families might live? Live for what?
God is continually offsetting our destructive tendencies with His grace. There must be a single, great Giver to offset the fact that men are always taking. Men would tear themselves and the world apart through their hoarding and clinging if not for God, who chooses to patiently hold the world together.
Worldly men would think a man crazy for giving and dieing unconditionally so that others might benefit from his giving and dieing. God's otherworldly grace inspires such craziness. This insanity is the only productive way to live. This good kind of insanity offsets the Godless world's insanity, which is self-destructive.
God makes it possible for men to die to themselves by making them spiritually full. To the heaven-bound man, Jesus Christ is all the nutrition and wealth that he could ever want. Christ is our eternal Wealth. This Wealth is unfading, impossible to steal. The spiritual wealth that comes from knowing Jesus Christ is grounded in God, who is eternally set apart from the world.
Christ makes His followers useful to world by freeing them from worldly concern. He fills them and strengthens them so they might give and die unconditionally, to benefit others. It is not the race that makes a rat race, but the rats in the race that make it a rat race. God frees us from this rat race by making us something better than rats.
A career of sales, for example, will drain a person's life. But a salesman who depends on God will accomplish his work with unconditional joy. When God frees a man to work with unconditional dedication and joy, he will do any job well, even a sales job. This demonstrates the ironic beauty of God's grace. He injects that which was only dark and detrimental with life-renewing hope and strength.
There is hope for our capitalistic economy as long as it contains Godly checks and balances. As long as our money earning is girded by spiritual wisdom and selfless charity there's a chance for us to find meaning in our everyday lives.
Patrick is an average Christ-seeker. His goal is to turn people to Jesus Christ.
Find additional resources at www.BooksByPatrick.com and www.KoGmedia.com