We live in an instant culture – instant information, instant gratification, instant results, instant coffee – we want it all and we want it now.
Even Christians are too often trapped in the “now”, especially at this time of year.
The New Year is a time when many of us commit to making long-overlooked changes – losing weight, eating better, chasing long-neglected pipe dreams. This is the “year” when everything changes, we say to ourselves on January 1st. Yet all too often at the end of the month, we find ourselves in the same old gloomy state.
A 2019 Forbes article cited studies that indicate that 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail, many in the first month or two of the New Year. Why is that? Let’s go back to the opening paragraph.
When we don’t see immediate life-changing results, the tendency is to become convinced that the energy we put into the goal is not worth it. This is one of the reasons why “quick” diet and energy solutions find so many followers. We all want results without any long term effort.
The truth is, however, that any long-term goal that is worth achieving will never happen instantly.
The psalmist writes: “Happy is the man who does not walk according to the counsel of the wicked, who does not oppose sinners, and who does not sit in the seat of scoffers; but his pleasure is in the law of the Lord, and he meditates on his law day and night. He is like a tree planted near streams of water which gives fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In everything he does, he thrives. (Psalm 1: 1-3, ESV)
There is one key phrase in this passage that is important not to overlook – its season.
When a farmer plants a seed today, he will not have wheat, corn or milo tomorrow. The flower planted today does not have a full range of flowering petals within hours. These results take weeks, months, often years of dedicated care and tireless work.
The farmer gets up before dawn, every day in the fields first prepares the soil, then sows the seeds, then waters and weeds. A fertile field requires constant maintenance, something that I have been fortunate enough to see with my own eyes during my years in such beautiful condition.
Likewise, no fruit that we bear in life and in faith will come quickly or easily. Throughout the scriptures, we often see that the Lord’s plan takes years, even generations, to be realized. And for the Lord to bear fruit in each of us, it takes a faithful commitment on our part to stay in Him – not for a day or two, but for the long haul.
The Psalmist makes it clear. Even a tree planted by a fruitful life source will take years to reach full maturity. But a plant removed from its source of life will not stand a chance.
So if you really want to bear fruit, connect with Source of Life daily and don’t give up.
Each fertile seed will bear fruit in due time.
Daniel “DJ” Kiewel is a reporter for the Great Bend (Kan.) Tribune. He can be contacted at [email protected]