Burn Out vs Rust Out

One can happen in a day….

Rusty John DeereThe other can take a life time.

“Back in the 1970’s Neil Young sang a song about the emerging punk ethic. And the pivotal line in that song was it was better to burn out than rust…. To me that rust symbolizes all the miles driven and experiences gained… From where I sit, rust looks pretty good…. I have a 1962 John Deere tractor that is rusted out, but the insides, the part that matters, ticks perfectly like a top.” ~Don Henley, 2008

I know nothing about the punk ethic, nor do I know anything about punk bands. Yet the thing that stands out from this quote is something I do know and understand:

You do not want to burn out your enthusiasm or existence for something you enjoy. When that happens you become a “has been” or a jaded personality. When that happens you become of no use to anyone else except the same jaded personality and then you feed off of each other.

It is somewhat like the fads of the day. Everyone gets into something quickly, and then the market gets washed out by the overwhelming acceptance of the product – then just as quickly the secondary creators roll out their “look a likes” and everyone looses interest.

The original concept is replaced by a cheap knockoff .

I remember when Starbucks came out with their cold drink cups with the permanent plastic straw. Everyone rushed to the store when there was stock and bought them up. It seemed like everyone else wish they had one, and the supplies could not meet the demand. Finally, stock and demand equalized, and then every other creator had their own version and the desire for the product dropped.

Back in the day it was the Trivial Pursuit game. It was around Christmas of 1982 or so, Anchorage, Alaska. We wanted one so badly and the local store was having a shipment come in just days before the holiday. Every other store had SOLD OUT all the stock. I put my name on the waiting list, about number 40 or so. They called two days later and I owned a Trivial Pursuit. (Still have the original)

The interest in the game peaked a few years later and the creators started spinning out specialty collections of questions that keeps the interest going at a much less harried pace today.

Cars, furnishings, clothing, accessories, books and authors… this happens in just about every category.

It’s almost like the boom and bust periods of gold mines, or the stock market. People often look for the quick satisfaction of having something that everyone else wants. Recognition of the opportunity is crucial, and then timing whether to buy in, or sell out, in order to not lose your investment, and hopefully make a killing in the market.

What is there that does not require riding the craze of searching for the
Next Best Thing?

Perhaps the best attitude is striving at a steady pace until the end arrives. In fact,  Jesus says that whoever endures till the end will be saved (Matthew 10:22). Another word for endures is “persevere, have fortitude, abide.”

Finding the right thing to be a part of
and then persevering until the end brings about great reward.

The writer of Hebrews takes it deeper.

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. (Hebrews 10:23 ESV)

What is the confession of your hope? What do you believe in? What are you willing to stand firm on? What is your anchor? Are you prepared to be in your race for a life time, and not a quick fix to your situation of life?

Faithfulness. Steadfastness. Not wavering.

In the interview I referenced above, Don Henley said something about their situation…. (Paraphrase)

Don: We wanted longevity. It was not a game. It was not a hobby. It wasn’t a pleasant diversion. It was a life. A calling. A career.

What is your passion? Are you burning out, or would you much rather endured to the end a little rusted out because you out lasted?