The Corn is Still Growing

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.

~CP

One of My Greatest Spiritual Battles

You live for what you love most. You will make time to catch the latest episode on your favorite TV show. You will clear up your schedule to do lunch with that special person in your life. You will scrape and save for that ultimate vacation.

It’s true, we all live for what we love most. I still remember the first time I realized the power of desire while sitting in Greek class in seminary. Yes, that’s right, Greek class. And lest you tune me out, I’ll have you know I was about as excited as you may be at the prospect. I did not do particularly well in Greek during my college days, and I had heard stories about how hard this class would be. But on that first day of class, my professor made the insightful comment that the main difference between the succesful student and the failing student is desire. If someone wants something bad enough, they will most likely get it. You would think I would have figured that out by seminary, but for some reason the lesson really sunk in that day.

Perhaps you are familiar with this part of the Westminster Shorter Catechism:

Q. 1. What is the chief end of man?
A. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.

Notice the answer to our purpose and meaning in life has to do with our desire. We actually glorify God most by enjoying Him. You live for what you love most. That’s what Jesus said, too, when He was asked.

34 But when the Pharisees heard that he [Jesus] had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 
38 This is the great and first commandment.
Matthew 22:34-38

photo credit: Ben White at unsplash.com

I am by nature an ambitious person. I like to get things done and to accomplish goals. But in all my pursuits I am constantly reminded of the depth of my own sinfulness when I quietly examine my inward desires and ask, “Why am I doing this? Is it really out of a love for God, or is it just out of a love for Cameron Pollock? Am I truly seeking God’s glory, or am I seeking my own glory?” You live for what you love most. And when I look at what I am living for, I have to confess that a lot of times it is really more for me than for Christ. And that’s because I love myself too much, and Christ far too little. It is one of my greatest, most fundamental, most important daily spiritual battles.

Thank goodness for the saving blood of Jesus Christ. At His feet I find full cleansing and forgiveness. At His feet I find true satisfaction and delight. And at His feet I learn and embrace the pure motivation to love Him more and more, not in word only, but in deed and in truth.

You live for what you love most. What are you living for?

CP

21 Days of Giving Thanks – Day 12

In an effort to emphasize the season of Thanksgiving, I’m celebrating it all through the month of November. Earlier I explained my 21 Days of Giving Thanks challenge, which you can read about here. Today let’s focus on giving thanks for the people we see almost every day of the week.

Day 12 – Give Thanks for Coworkers

Coworkers can either make or break a good work environment. Our coworkers are the people we interact with most in life. If you are a stay-at-home mom, then your children could fit the role (mind-blowing thought).

This post is not a persuasive essay trying to convince you that your coworkers are the greatest blessing in your life- quite the opposite. Sometimes God allows difficult people in our lives as a means of sanctifying us and growing us into Christian maturity. The Bible actually contains a specific Greek word that refers to us bearing patiently with people- as opposed to circumstances or trials- in the process of growing to be like Christ. You don’t necessarily have to like everything they do, but you can be certain that God has placed the people in your work environment around you for a specific purpose and reason.

God gave you this moment, right now, to impact your coworkers for eternity. That in itself is reason to give thanks.

Challenge: Thank God for the coworkers he has given you. Pray for them by name, asking God to give you wisdom to respond to them in a way that pleases Christ.

CP