Traditionalist Bird

The Rat Race of Faith

Ken writes a post that paints Christianity as being not that much different from the world. Rather than the worldly rat race of careers, money, status, its a rat race of faith. Whoever can get to the finish line of heaven with the most godly stamina–wins. Its an endurance competition not only with other Christians but with the world. Whoever can suck it up the best–wins, whoever can suffer in silence the most–wins.  Faith is not a journey, but a race. Faith, if done correctly and if you are godly, will take you in a straight line to God. Its the express route to God and being teacher’s pet.  However, that is not how most people’s faith/religious experience looks.  Rather most people are on a journey as demonstrated by the “mess” on the right. It doesn’t mean that those on the right fail to get to the same destination they just don’t see faith as a race, as something that you need to win or finish as #1.

 

what-success-really-looks-like
Godly people think faith looks like the left side

Ken writes:

“Imagine a top runner in the Olympics and she knows she can outrun the rest of the competitors, so she stops along the way to get a coffee, and then watch a movie, then pick up a twenty pound sack of gold coins and carry them with her to the finish line. She did not come in last, but she came in the middle of the pack, with her talents squandered because she wanted her coffee, movie and gold. What would all of the spectators say about her, and far more what would her own competitors think? This woman could have won it all, but she wanted her pleasures and her security over winning the race”

This cute analogy suggest there are only a few slots in heaven and if you don’t get to the finish line in a straight fashion, you are rather going straight to hell. Anyone who gets distracted or stumbles along the way may not win any prizes, but they still arrive at the destination. I think this mind set speaks a lot as to how the godly, superior, holier-than-thou, crowd operates. They are very concerned about how they look to other Christians–gasp-“what would her competitors think”. They have to always be quoting scripture and saying prayers publicly (whether they mean them or not), wearing their cross necklace, because gasp-“what if others think I am not really a Christian”!They can’t imagine that someone would want to take their faith as a journey or at a strolling pace rather than win all the prizes of being first in heaven, first in God’s eyes.  Its like how straight A students can’t imagine how anyone could be happy with a bunch of B and C grades. How can anyone be happy just being average?  How can anyone be happy simply finishing the race and not being #1? A person who runs a marathon even if they still come in last is still seen as successful, at least I think they would be by the average person. However, they are not successful to those who have a race mentality (must be #1). Running 26 miles has no value in its own right unless you are #1. Those who don’t win any medals at the Olympics are failures in their mind and don’t see that even qualifying for the Olympics is a huge success. Its a very “all or nothing”, “black or white” thought pattern.

So, the goal for Christians is to remove any “weights” in their life that prevent them from being #1.

Ken:

“What are the weights we are called to lay aside? They are anything that hinder our race of faith and take our eyes off of our perfect Savior. The weights of the things of this world can be the Internet, television, smart phones, hobbies, the desire to accumulate wealth, too much value in sports or in our children, or anything that distracts us from spending any time in the Word and prayer.”

Right, because life isn’t a worldly rat race its a spiritual rat race. All eyes are not to be on the gold medal, but being God’s #1, his favorite, his pet. Completing the Christian race does not make you a success only being the winner does. Losers (or those who get distracted along the way/aren’t perfect) go to hell and belong to Satan and the winner goes to heaven and belongs to God. Those to be more concerned about are those who drop out of the race all together, who quit on their faith.

To wrap this all up with some humor–here is the mindset Christians should have:

This is how you don’t win the race:

and this is what happens when Christians have a race mentality, they look no different than the world:

 

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8 thoughts on “The Rat Race of Faith

  1. Well, there is a point here. You CAN get too distracted from things around you and neglect the important stuff…..but the important thing is that ALL of us have done this, because it’s part of the human condition. It’s like the quadrant in Steven Covey’s Highly Effective People book — the non-urgent, yet important stuff does tend to get pushed aside, yet they are the most important things.

    Having said that, this is what I think they are aiming at:

    the cup of coffee — the monthly gathering of the homeschooling Moms for coffee or a light lunch or dinner so they can recharge their batteries
    the movie — an evening in which somebody curls up to relax for a few minutes at something that can be inspiring so she can recharge her batteries.
    the bag of gold — the part time job Mom has to get the bills paid because she doesn’t live a luxurious lifestyle, but DOES need to pay the electric bill. But of course I suppose we could light a fire in the fireplace for cooking and use candles for light. (Sarcasm intended.)

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  2. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3728333/The-horrific-moment-Dutch-woman-cyclist-crashes-flies-handlebars-s-just-miles-Olympic-gold-medal.html

    Relate something like this to the metaphorical Christian race…”Christian crashes just miles away from God’s glory”.

    I guess this cyclist must have been weighted down by twenty pound sack of gold coins. Too distracted! See how silly this is. This brings up another point of sometimes Christians don’t win the race not because of any weight they are carrying around but for stuff that gets filed under “shit happens”.

    Further, I have to say the Christian rat race is one of the biggest things that turned me off to godly women. In trying to escape from the worldly rat race, you would think Christians would not be as competitive, but oh its so much worse. Not only do the women try to one-up you they also spit their virtue (as insanitybytes says) on you as you pass each other.

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  3. Stone said:

    “That made me think one example probably used as a weight or being distracted from the race is a woman who veers off the straight path to God to work for several years rather than stay home. If she stayed home she would win the race quicker, you see.”

    Ohhhhh.

    By the way, right as I was finishing up my earlier edifying post on your thread, I discovered that Baby Girl had massively stained both herself and our kitchen table with much of a multi-pack of Wilton icing coloring…From a distance, it had looked like she was just doing water colors…Baby Girl only just now got out of the tub from that escapade–before she went in and went through a number of changes of bath water, her hands were stained several shades purpler than Violet Beauregarde and she had green and pink stuff in her hair.

    (Looking on the bright side, even though she went up a step ladder, filled a large glass jar with water, and then hauled it across the kitchen and set it on the kitchen table to use for rinsing her brushes, she didn’t break the glass jar!)

    It’s a little hard to categorize that one. One the one hand, obviously I was distracted from the True Path of child supervision. On the other hand, Baby Girl had a DELIGHTFUL (and no doubt educational) time. So, both/and?

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  4. Amy,
    That made me think one example probably used as a weight or being distracted from the race is a woman who veers off the straight path to God to work for several years rather than stay home. If she stayed home she would win the race quicker, you see.

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  5. The was really well said.

    It’s kind of sad and funny, but if you approach faith as a rat race, you might want to keep in mind that the bible says, “the last shall be first.” Matthew 20 gives a good teaching on that.

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  6. In fairy tales, there’s often a situation where the various people on a quest are stopped along the way by interruptions. Usually, some characters ignore the interruptions, but wind up failing anyway. However, the hero or heroine will stop, give help when asked, and will succeed in their quest because they accepted the interruption.

    (I can’t remember a specific fairy tale, but I’m pretty sure of this.)

    See also the characters in the parable of the Good Samaritan who did not stop.

    It’s often not clear what our particular mission is supposed to be at a particular time–because we aren’t actually running down a marked track with a clearly defined finish line. It might turn out that it is very important to have coffee with a particular person, watch a particular movie, or manage money effectively for one’s family or organization.

    A lot of times, I know when I think seriously–what should I be doing right now?–the answer is often something rather mundane like, “I should call my grandparents!” or “I should call my mom!” or “I should call my sister!”

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