The Rat Race

There’s a section from a children’s book called Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH which is an insightful commentary on  1 Timothy 6:6-8 which says, “But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that.”

The Rats of NIMH are a group of intelligent rats who can talk, and who are trying to learn more about themselves. One of them reports about a story he read:

The story “was about a woman in a small town who bought a vacuum cleaner. Her name was Mrs. Jones, and up until then she, like all of her neighbors, had kept her house spotlessly clean by using a broom and a mop.

“But the vacuum cleaner did it faster and better, and soon Mrs. Jones was the envy of all the other housewives in town—so they bought vacuum cleaners, too.

“The vacuum cleaner business was so brisk, in fact, that the company that made them opened a branch factory in the town. The factory used a lot of electricity, of course, and so did the women with their vacuum cleaners, so the local electric power company had to put up a big new plant to keep them all running.

“In its furnaces the power plant burned coal, and out of its chimneys black smoke poured day and night, blanketing the town with soot and making all the floors dirtier than ever.

“Still, by working twice as hard and twice as long, the women of the town were able to keep their floors almost as clean as they had been before Mrs. Jones every bought a vacuum cleaner in the first place.

The rat concludes: “The story was part of a book of essays, and the reason I had read it so eagerly was that it was called “The Rat Race”—which, I learned, means a race where, no matter how fast you run, you don’t get anywhere. But there was nothing in the book about rats, and I felt bad about the title because, I thought, it wasn’t a rat race at all, it was a People Race, and no sensible rats would every do anything so foolish.”

Well said, Mr. Rat.

A rat race isn’t worth running if nobody wins.

By Matthew Ruttan

–Today’s quote is from “Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH” by Robert C. O’Brien, pp. 169-170.
–Bible quote are from the NIV.


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