The Hamster Wheel

June 12, 2024
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Jesus’s offer is real. 

His way of life is powerful, and it is readily available.  

Consider His words from John 7:37-39, 

On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified. 

Who would not want “rivers of living water” produced by the Holy Spirit flowing within them? That would certainly be an incredible life! 

If Jesus’s offer is real, if His way of life is powerful and available, then why do so few who believe in Him actually experience the waters? 

Its 5am the alarm rings 

The race begins he’s gonna win 

Get his show the world 


All he can see is others  

Theirs is his or is his theirs 

Don’t stop Can’t stop  


One day rest but not today 

I’m tired is this it 

No more than this 


As real and true as Jesus’s offer is, there are counter persons and forces mucking life to blur access to His waters. Lures trap and traps lure. And many of us walk unaware of the ease with which we are kept from promised riches.  

The tortured middle describes a real prison of sorts for those who have given their lives to Jesus and yet do not know living waters. We have already visited two areas in the middle – the courtroom of guilt and shame and the hospital bed of trauma. Powerful places with powerful handcuffs.  

The lyric above describes a third area in the middle – the hamster wheel. A life dedicated to work and all its trinkets. Like light to moths the hamster wheel powerfully lures unsuspecting men and women daily. And once the wheel begins to turn, the race is on.   

Fascinating that the wheel is not an American concept and it is not the sole product of capitalism. Pre-United States and pre-capitalism, King Solomon, in the book of Ecclesiastes, spoke about the wheel – he called it wind-chasing.  

Then I became great and increased more than all who preceded me in Jerusalem. My wisdom also stood by me. All that my eyes desired I did not refuse them. I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure, for my heart was pleased because of all my labor and this was my reward for all my labor. Thus I considered all my activities which my hands had done and the labor which I had exerted, and behold all was vanity and striving after wind and there was no profit under the sun.1 

Solomon himself wasted years striving after the wind by grinding in the marketplace trying to win! 

Those trapped in the wheel will often say they do not have time to pray. They do not have time to read Scripture. They certainly do not have time to be still and meditate. Those in the wheel will describe their thought life as very noisy and chaotic. Their lives are driven by their to-do list and a lust for succeeding in the world’s arena. 

Interestingly, a stay-at-home mom can be as easily trapped in the hamster wheel as a male CEO. Life is lived on the go. Worth is determined by activity. Fear of missing out, fear of scarcity of goods, insecurity, or a thirst for reputation can all keep men and women running. 

By the way, the image of an adult man or woman, fully capable of making intelligent decisions, spending their lives running in a hamster wheel is both comedic and tragic. Can’t you see that you are not getting anywhere?  

Being freed from the wheel happens when one awakens to their wind-chasing. There must be more to life. One’s own efforts, regardless of how successful, simply do not satisfy. One has climbed high enough, run far enough, and accumulated enough to realize the futility of their way of life.  

The Father waits to fill this hole with His love, faithfulness, and definitions of life and success. There is another way to live. But, as we continue to see, this “other way,” this way of Jesus, is not of this world. One must be crucified to this world to be alive in Jesus’s world. In Jesus’s world, God the Father sets the pace of life and takes primary responsibility for providing. In Jesus’s world, we live to glorify our Father’s reputation, for Him to be seen. In Jesus’s world, our Father has prepared good works which He has prepared in advance for us to do. He called us, equips us, and sends us for Kingdom purposes.  

Discouragement, confusion, fear, and pride are real experiences we have that can keep us idolizing that dang wheel. At one point in Timothy’s life he battled discouragement. He wanted to quit. The Apostle Paul, who had become Timothy’s father in the faith, knew Timothy’s rhythm. He wrote strong words in 1 Timothy 1:8-9 to Timothy to keep him in the fight, at one point reminding him of the reality of his calling,  

“…but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity…”  

You were made and called for so much more than running the world’s race. While the price of your salvation has been paid in Jesus, walking in His life will cost you the world and its dreams. You must be convinced that the way of Jesus is MORE and BETTER and RICHER than the way of the world.  

Living waters of the Holy Spirit await. 

The LIFE for which you were created is possible. 

May God our Father deliver you from the trap of the wheel and the waste of chasing wind! This is OVERFLOW…this is what happens when God goes first in all things.  

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