How to Get Off the Rat-race
The Rat race is a way of life in modern society such as ours. People compete with each other to achieve success. Merriam Webster dictionary describes it as “the unpleasant life, of people who have jobs that require them to work very hard in order to compete with others for money, power, status, etc.”
The blessed few became successful both in their field and family. But in some instances, instead of finding success and long-lasting sense of fulfillment, they ended up frustrated with the outcome. Then comes the moment to reckon with reality, one may ask, “Is it all worth it?” Is it worth joining the rat race in lieu of what’s really important in life? For some, who honestly took stock of one’s life found “success” to be meaningless, as they traverse traumatic, painful and unforgettable experiences. The book of Ecclesiastes offers several advices how to get off the rat race. And the first one is to…
1. Evaluate the source of your discontent.
“4 And I saw that all toil and all achievement spring from one person’s envy of another. This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind. 5 Fools fold their hands and ruin themselves.” Ecclesiastes 4:4-5.
· Work done unbiblically can become a major source of discontentment.
In this time of pandemic work at home became a norm for many. Companies require more time, and sometimes, one has to do the work of 2 to keep the job.
· “meaningless” - when one is so consumed with chasing after what he sees in others to be worthwhile objectives and values and forgetting that the subject of life is God.
· Idleness breeds discontent for oneself and for others. Proverbs 16:27, “27 Idle hands are the devil’s workshop; idle lips are his mouthpiece.”
· “This too is meaningless”-a highly observable attitude: “Many of those who do nothing are top complainers and meddlers.”
“10 For even when we were with you, we used to give you this order: if anyone is not willing to work, then he is not to eat, either. 11 For we hear that some among you are leading an undisciplined life, doing no work at all, but acting like busybodies. 12 Now we command and exhort such persons in the Lord Jesus Christ to work peacefully and eat their own bread.” 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12, NASB.
· The remedy:
23 Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord and not for people, 24 knowing that it is from the Lordthat you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.” Colossians 3:23.
· God is the subject of your work who gives you long-lasting satisfaction and contentment.
· The objective of work is to demonstrate devotion to Him.
2. Take a break from the daily grind of life.
“6 Better one handful with tranquillity than two handfuls with toil and chasing after the wind.” Ecclesiastes 4:6
· More work doesn’t necessarily mean better and profitable.
· A handful of things that are more manageable, helps in balancing one’s life.
· When people are in the rat race, work becomes a life of toil, a drudgery, a grind.
· The remedy:
Tranquility – “quietness, rest, rested” in Hebrew. Pray for a job that gives you time of quietness and rest.
· Without rest and some inner quietness with the Lord, it’s so easy to lose sight of what is more important than work.
3. Show where your heart really is at.
“7 Again I saw something meaningless under the sun: 8 There was a man all alone; he had neither son nor brother. There was no end to his toil, yet his eyes were not content with his wealth. “For whom am I toiling,” he asked, “and why am I depriving myself of enjoyment?” This too is meaningless— a miserable business! 9 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: 10 If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up.” Ecclesiastes 4:7-10.
· For whom do we toil?
· Are wealth and achievements really the most important things in life?
· People say, we aim for success for the sake of our family. But if you have a family member longing to have meaningful time with you, then it’s time to rethink where your heart lays.
· The remedy:
Matthew 6:19-21 and 24, my hope is that you will listen to Him, “19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.20 But store up for yourselvestreasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also… 24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.”
· Aim for eternal and everlasting.
· Serve God where ever He assigned you to do.
When we make God the only subject of our life, He forms us, shapes us, molds us into something that would represent Him in our family – loving, caring, responsible models of Him.
 Merriam Webster, Rat Race, accessed January 27, 2021, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/the%20rat%20race