Chasing Rabbits…

Ben Schoettel   -  


“I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained this or have already reached the goal, but I press on to lay hold of that for which Christ has laid hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider that I have laid hold of it, but one thing I have laid hold of: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal, toward the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:10-14)


According to (yes, real website), you will find that although the numbers are dropping annually, there is still a significant amount of money spent and won in the greyhound dog racing industry. In the state of West Virginia (the second poorest state in the US) greyhound racing is still a multi-million-dollar industry (thanks mostly to gambling and state subsidies.) In 2022, a purse of 1.8 million was awarded for selecting the prize-winning pup. With all of this money flowing in something like animal races, one must wonder… what’s in it for the dog? Are those dogs dreaming about all the Milk Bones they are going to buy with their winnings? Are they envisioning a golden water dish and a few diamond pieces for their collar? No. What is it that motivates these dogs to burn up everything they’ve got for someone else’s riches? A lure. Attached to the inner fence of a greyhound track is a mechanical lure (traditionally shaped like a rabbit) is what entices the dogs around the loop. They run and they run and they run… in their mind they are getting closer and closer to their prize… but at the end of the day, there is no reward, and they are left with our common phrase for pointless endeavors… chasing rabbits.


As we reject the myth that Jesus can just be a convenient piece of our puzzle of life to achieve our ideals for the perfect life; if we live out the truth that we are created to be all-in for Jesus through our compassion, mercy, and faithfulness (holy love); we must also reject the myth that this path will be following the rainbow to get to the pot of gold on the other side (sorry Lucky…) When we read Paul’s words above, two questions come to mind:


What is victory?


We often connect the victory we find in Scripture with victories we hear of in the world, but this distracts us from the true victory we experience through our obedience. We don’t follow Jesus to get to heaven or conquer the world, we follow Jesus to experience heaven (God’s presence) in our world.


Are we dogs?


Another truth we need to hold onto, which means rejecting the perspectives of the world, is that we are not God’s dogs, horses, prize fighters, etc. God calls us beloved. God calls creation good. Jesus calls us family. We are not chasing rabbits while Jesus fills his wallet. Our faithfulness is about the reward Jesus desires to share with us (the new life with him that comes out of the death of our life of sin.) We share in the reward of God’s love through our faithfulness.


The key word is share. When we think of running the race, we think competition. Then people and places become an opponent that gets in the way of our prize. That’s not our heavenly calling. Our calling is to be a bridge between heaven and earth, so we all can see and experience victory. Not a victory of riches, a much-needed victory of peace.


So, if someone is offering you carrots at the cost of your obedience, remember your worth in the eyes of God. Your worth isn’t the prize at the end of the race, and it isn’t in your position in the standings, it’s in who God created you to be. A loving and loved part of God’s good creation.