Thursday’s Thoughts: Rush – The closer you are to death…

Posted: October 17, 2013 by jperritt in Action, Drama
Tags: , , , , , ,

rush-poster-2013Rush is the “true story” of a Formula One racing rivalry between James Hunt and Niki Lauda. This film, set in the 1970’s, has been received fairly well by critics and fans alike. Even though Academy Award winning director Ron Howard is at the helm, it has been somewhat surprising to read how well this film is being received.

One theme I wanted to focus on today comes a quote uttered by Hunt, The closer you are to death, the more alive you feel. It’s a wonderful way to live.  It’s the only way to drive. We wouldn’t expect to hear anything different coming from a film entitled ‘Rush’. We also couldn’t expect anything less from a man making a living by putting his life on the line every time he gets behind the wheel of a race car. Speeding past your opponent. Racing by a cheering crowd. And, doing it all knowing that the slightest mistake can end your life – this is what truly makes you feel alive, according to Hunt. Is he right?

Is living in such a way that brings you close to death, truly the way to live? Well, in some ways we can understand what Hunt means. If we have gone through a near-death experience, perhaps, it definitely moves you to appreciate life. Knowing that death was staring you in the face, but life was granted to you instead, one can’t help but feel more alive. We can possibly understand this reasoning, but we would certainly disagree with intentionally putting your life on the line just to get a rush. Bungee-jumping or sky-diving just to feel more alive is just plain dumb. Yes, I must admit that I have done both of those, but things have changed now that I have a family. And, hindsight provides such clarity for me in those situations. Therefore, if risk-taking was my only outlet to feel more alive, I would be in a sad state.

However, biblically speaking, I don’t think Hunt is too far off. While he wasn’t talking about getting a rush from fast driving, Jesus Christ said something similar to Hunt. Whoever loses his life for my sake, will find it. [Matt. 10:39b] In one sense, Jesus was talking about a bigger risk-taking than Hunt. Jesus was calling others to deny themselves, to serve others, to live in a way that would, at times, feel like death.

Our sinful nature turns us inward and moves us to live life focused on ourselves. We desire to live life doing what we want to do. By nature, we chase after pursuits that we enjoy. Hobbies that bring us comfort or pleasure. Jesus, however, was calling us to die to those desires and truly live.

In one sense, Jesus was calling us to a bigger risk. But, in another sense, living a life focused on a calling from Christ is no risk at all. Jesus promised us that this denial of self-service would result in a life that’s truly life. And, of course, we cannot purchase this life by simply living a life of asceticism. Jesus Christ already purchased this life for us, now we live a life in service for others out of an overflow of what he’s already purchased for us. There are times, though, that will make a selfless lifestyle feel like death. But, the closer you are to this type of death, the more alive you really are.


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