Rat Race

Why do we rat race? Why do we keep up with the Joneses? (And who are
the Joneses, anyway?) Why do we try to keep ourselves busy at all
times? In light of my own drivenness, I've taken to contemplating
such questions, in search of some answers. Let us consider some of
the possibilities, or at least the ones that drive me.

Pride. We want to be better than others because that's what makes us
feel better about ourselves.

Insecurity. We don't want to be worse than others because otherwise
that would make us feel worse about ourselves.

Envy/jealousy. We want what others have, or we don't want others to
have what we have or don't have, because we're petty like that.

Revenge. Somebody in our past or in our lives told us we couldn't do
it, so we try all the more to do it just to spite them, just to show
them up.

Greed. If we run as fast as possible, we'll get ahead, and we'll
become desirable and updated, and we'll be able to earn enough to
support the lifestyles we seek.

Anxiety. If we don't run as fast as possible, we'll fall behind, or
become unmarketable or irrelevant, or we won't be able to earn enough
to provide for our families.

Addiction. We don't know any other way than to work work work; if we
stop, we go through withdrawals.

Fear. We're afraid that if we stop, we'll be all alone with ourselves
and our demons, and we don't want to have to deal with that.

Vanity. We want to separate ourselves from the crowd so that people
will look up to us and admire us.

Peer pressure. We do it because everyone else is doing it, and far
from us to not be hip to what everyone else is doing.

That's a lot of impetuses, all of which I've been guilty of in some
shape or form. The solution, of course, is not to kill any ambition
or drive in our lives; sloth, apathy, and idleness are just as bad,
and the great tragedy of modern Christians is probably not that they
do too much for the Kingdom but that they do too little. Making the
most of our time, talent, and treasures while we are still on this
side of glory is still a great and God-honoring thing to do.

Yet it must be tempered by the awareness that that drive is so easily
influenced by worldly motivations that creep in and taint our purposes
and our works. Would that this generation spend more of its times on
its knees in prayer, that we'd do great things -- spurred on not by
sinful impulses but by a God who promises to do great things for and
through us.

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