Every day on my way to work I drive past cornfields on the outskirts of town. I enjoy watching the farmers plough the soil, fertilize it, and plant the seed. But growth doesn’t happen overnight. If you expect a freshly planted cornfield to grow much in an hour, you will be highly disappointed. You could even pull up a lawn chair and watch through the heat of an entire day, and you still would not see much. But stop by a month or so later, and you will discover acres and acres of knee-high cornstalks shooting up from the ground. Another month, and the corn will be at eye level. Another month, and you’ll be hoping the farmer harvests soon so you can view the countryside again.
That’s how growth works. As someone recently said to me, “Progress is quiet and slow.” In our popcorn culture, we often forget how long it took to grow those salty, fluffy, buttery kernels we just transformed in the microwave in a matter of seconds.
Growth takes time, so we need to recognize the apostle Peter had this slow progress in mind when he said, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen” (2 Peter 3:18). Spiritual growth does not normally occur in super-spiritual feats of miraculous proportions, but through the unspectacular glory of a daily walk in the Spirit. Reading a chapter in your Bible a day, praying for 15 minutes, making a sacrificial decision no one else noticed, sharing a passage of Scripture with a friend, and all other seemingly small spiritual acts have an exponential impact on your spiritual growth over time. God has chosen this process to make us like his Son. That’s not an insignificant end result.
And we can expect growth to be quiet and slow in every other area of our lives. Whenever I drive past those cornfields, it is God’s providential reminder to me to keep working diligently at the seemingly little things. Faithfulness works like compounding interest in every endeavor. That is why good teachers and coaches instruct their students and athletes to practice daily. Michael Jordan didn’t suddenly become a great basketball player overnight. He became great one dribble, one layup, one free throw at a time. And he didn’t quit or take days off.
So don’t be discouraged if your progress seems illusive. Keep growing every day, even if what you do seems little, insignificant, or ineffective. It might not be comfortable, and you may not always feel like it, but it will be worth it. ‘Cause the corn is still growing, whether you notice it or not.