Updated: Nov 6
Recently I revisited Eugene Peterson's excellent book Run with the Horses. It is an examination of the life of the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah and is chock-full of inspiring wisdom and challenging exhortation.
The title comes from this verse-
"So, Jeremiah, if you're worn out in this footrace with men,
what makes you think you can race against horses?
And if you can't keep your wits during times of calm,
what's going to happen when troubles break loose
like the Jordan in flood?"
~Jeremiah 12: 5 (MSG)
In the opening pages, Peterson rephrases the above challenge in the following manner:
"Are you going to live cautiously or courageously? I called you to live at your best, to pursue righteousness, to sustain a drive toward excellence. It is easier, I know, to be neurotic. It is easier to be parasitic. It is easier to relax in the embracing arms of The Average. Easier, but not better. Easier, but not more significant. Easier, but not more fulfilling. I called you to a life of purpose far beyond what you think yourself capable of living and promised to you adequate strength to fulfill your destiny. Now at the first sign of difficulty you are ready to quit. If you are fatigued by this run-of-the-mill crowd of apathetic mediocrities, what will you do when the real race starts, the race with the swift and determined horses of excellence? What is it you really want, Jeremiah? Do you want to shuffle along with this crowd, or run with the horses?"
Peterson argues that Jeremiah responded to this challenge, not verbally, but biographically- "His life became his answer, 'I'll run with the horses.'" Jeremiah chose "a life of excellence, what the Greeks called areté."
We have the same choice as Jeremiah.
Will we shuffle along?
Or, like Jeremiah...
RUN WITH THE HORSES.
LIVE WITH ARETÉ.