Plowing In A Straight Line Takes Patience
Have you ever sent someone a text, and then they don't text you back for a really long time? Like fifteen minutes? Or maybe you have a friend who only checks their email a couple of times a day. Maddening, right?
We live in a culture that is permeated with what I call the "tyranny of the urgent." We've all become so accustomed to getting what we want when we want... or getting answers quickly... or finding our way without getting lost...
I worry sometimes about what this is doing to us as a society.
Sometimes it feels as though we struggle to do the hard work of becoming better as a society, as people because it might take too long.
It seems to me that if we don't see immediate results to the things that ail us, or irritate us... we move on to the next solution, and the next, and the next without putting in the hard work and patience it sometimes requires to see real change.
Jesus once told his followers:
"The kind of person who never really gets to see the fullness of God's peace-drenched kingdom on earth is the kind of person who also can't seem to plow in a straight line. You know the kind, the ones who put their hand on the plow and keep looking back, distracted and wanting to see how they're doing. If they would just fix their eyes on the point ahead, maybe they would plow straighter."For those of you who are a bit familiar with the Bible... you know I totally paraphrased that whole saying, which you can find in Luke 9:62.
Theologian and author Joan Chittister once wrote:
We are risen to a new level of life when we come to understand that the ultimate purpose of life is to focus ourselves on something worth struggling beyond our strength to attain.The thing is, it almost always takes time, focus and patience to do big things. Jesus wanted his followers to play the long game when it came to God's kingdom.
You can't just dabble in kingdom work until it bores you. You also can't keep checking for results so often that you lose sight of where you are heading.
It's not enough to be "woke," as it is referred to in our current culture. Waking up to what must be done to change the world is the first step for us. The next step is to put away our phones, fix our eyes on the future and start plowing.
May you find your focus, and do the good work to be a patient and dedicated kingdom-bringer. And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.