It has been said that life is a “rat race”…that everyone is chasing something! So…what or who are you chasing or following?…what is the goal or finish line that you are looking for?
Greyhound racing, a popular betting sport in some parts of the country, attracts crowds who enjoy watching incredibly sleek and beautiful dogs run as fast as they can around a track. Unlike racehorses, greyhounds run without the assistance of a jockey. To keep the dogs running in the right direction, they are trained to chase a mechanical rabbit made of fur as it zips along the track in front of them. A man in the press box electronically controls the speed of the rabbit, keeping the rabbit just out in front of the dogs. The dogs never catch up to it.
At a Florida track some years back, a big race was about to begin. The dogs crouched in their cages, ready to go, while betting spectators finished placing their wagers. At the proper moment, the gun went off. The man in the press box pushed his lever, starting the rabbit down the first stretch, while the cage doors flew open, releasing the dogs to take off after the little rabbit. As the rabbit made the first turn, however, an electrical short in the system caused the rabbit to come to a complete stop, to explode, and to go up in flames. Poof! All that was left was a bit of black stuff hanging on the end of a wire.
Their rabbit gone, the bewildered dogs didn’t know how to act. According to news reports, several dogs simply stopped running and laid down on the track, their tongues hanging out. Two dogs, still frenzied with the chase, ran into a wall, breaking several ribs. Another dog began chasing his tail, while the rest howled at the people in the stands.
Not even one dog finished the race!
Bet you did not see that one coming!
Those dogs were chasing a rabbit that is rigged so that they can never catch it…they are running aimlessly in circles! How about you? What is your rabbit? What is your goal, your purpose in life, your hope?
After you wrestle with that powerful question…What if it were taken away? Sadly, many people chase an illusion, a mechanical rabbit of sorts, that ultimately turns out to offer no hope at all. In a staff devotion I heard it put this way:
Our identity will affect our roles / goal / and our path…but our roles / goals / and path should not affect our identity!
If you call Jesus your Lord and Savior…your identity is that of a “child of God.” Your rabbit so to speak…what you follow…what sets your direction is the Lord! His will is that you:
Mark 12:30-31…Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”
Paul the apostle wrote what kept him motivated to run the race: “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. (Philippians 1:21). Jesus is the only one who can give us lasting purpose, meaning, and hope…and we do not have to chase an unattainable goal…we have a God who is always there for you!
Paul later wrote about running a race, “I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14). To know Christ is the only lasting, eternal goal….and in any race, we need to keep our eyes on the goal. In this case, it is eternal life, face to face, with your Lord and Savior!
Just like the racing greyhounds, people pursue their chosen rabbit. We all need some reason for living—for running the race. So, what is your goal? Is it to get rich, be popular, gain power, have fun 24/7? Will those things bring you victory, joy, and happiness? Be careful —
They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. (Romans1:25) And remember that even if you win the race to fun, fame, finance, thrills, pleasures, and the toys of life… it can (and probably will) go up in smoke…be taken away in a flash. (Like the rabbit in the opening story.)
Matthew 6:19-20…“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.
The race for the greyhounds is fixed so that they never get to the rabbit that they are chasing. You on the other hand, already won, through faith in Jesus Christ! You have eternal life! Yes, it’s true! And the best part is that Jesus will be by your side during every other race you run in life. I want you to take the time to read this verse…slowly…2 or 3 times.
Romans 8:31-39 (msg)
So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture: They kill us in cold blood because they hate you. We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one. None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.
Your God loves you unconditionally, and He has specific plans for you…a specific race for you to run. He will give you strength when you feel exhausted…purpose when you feel lost…Joy when your life has you feeling down…Love when you feel unloved…Peace when the storms are all around…and a road map for each day.
Take time to pray and seek His will for you. Then hang on for the race of your life! But, speaking of greyhound dogs…
HUMOR FOR YOUR DAY:
A man is walking down the street when he hears a voice, “Pssst, hey you, come over here!” He looks round and can see only an old mangy greyhound.
“Yes, over here!” Said the greyhound. “Look at me I’m tied up here, I should be racing, I won 14 races in my career you know?”
The man thought to himself “Oh my goodness a talking dog, I have to have it, it will make me rich, tv appearances, live shows, cabaret bookings” So he goes in search of the owner.
He found the owner and said, “I’d like to buy your dog, is he for sale??” The owner says, “No mate, you don’t want that old moth-eaten thing!”
“But I do!” Insisted the man “I’ll give you $1000 for him. “Ok said the owner but I think you’re making a big mistake!”
Handing over the money the man said, “Why do you think that?” The man replied, “Because that dog is a bloody liar…it’s never won a race in its life!”