In 1998, Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson published a book called “Who Moved My Cheese?” that has become an icon in business circles. It is a short little book which, at its core, is a parable about business but also about life. The parable focuses on a couple of mice who traverse a maze in search of cheese. When they find it, they learn the turns necessary to find it again and again and so are happy. But one day, there is no cheese at the usual location, so the whole process of finding the cheese begins again.
It is an interesting story which fits a lot of life. Change happens and we must adapt. But I wonder if the authors of the book understand the irony of their parable and its title. Creating main characters as mice running after their goal, do they realize they're describing what most of us call the “Rat Race”? Are they aware that most people want out of the maze; out of the pointless chasing after “cheese” and the arbitrary decisions necessary to get it? It is possible that they chose the maze metaphor in order to express that frustration. But I don't remember any place where they advise an outlook above or beyond the maze. There is advice to explore new and different areas of the maze and they describe lots of different and unusual cheeses, but it's all the same maze and it's all just cheese.... in the parable.
Even more puzzling to me is the fact that the authors never once answer the question of the title. To be fair, this isn't a religious book and perhaps they thought that any answer they give would turn some people off, so they left people to make their own solutions. But it is a very good question and it really does require an answer. If “cheese” represents fulfillment in life; contentment and satisfaction... Why does it keep moving as we go through life? Why does fulfillment fade away over time as things that once satisfied, no longer seem to do so? Who made this crazy maze anyway... and why?
Well, there is One who made the maze and moves the cheese. Why? Because when the cheese moves there is a chance that we'll look up and ask, “Hey, who moved the cheese?” In that moment, we might actually hear an answer like, “I did. Now that I've got your attention I'd like to talk to you about...” before we scurry off again looking for more cheese. Most of us, with sufficient cheese, would be content to stay in the “Rat Race” forever.
So, instead of looking left or right to find the cheese, whatever cheese means to you, look up to the One who made the maze and all the cheese that's in it. He can lift you up and out. Ultimately, life is never about cheese. It is always about Him.