We live in an instant culture - instant information, instant gratification, instant results, instant coffee - we want everything and we want it now.
Even Christians too often get caught in the “now” trap, especially this time of year.
The new year is a time when many of us commit to making long neglected changes - lose weight, eat better, pursue the long neglected pipe dreams. This is “the year” everything changes, we tell ourselves on January 1. Yet, too often by the end of the month, we find ourselves in the same old morose state.
A 2019 Forbes article cited studies which indicate 80% of New Year’s resolutions fail, many within the first month or two of the new year. Why is that? Let’s return to the opening paragraph.
When we don’t see immediate, life-changing results, the tendency is to become convinced the energy we’re putting into the goal is not worth it. It’s one reason “quick fix” diet and energy solutions find such a huge following. We want all of the results with none of the long-term effort.
The truth is, though, any long-term goal worth obtaining is never going to happen instantly.
The Psalmist writes, “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord,and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.” (Psalm 1:1-3, ESV)
There’s a key phrase in this passage it’s important we not over look - in its season.
When a farmer plants a seed today, he does not have wheat, corn or milo tomorrow. The flower planted today does not have a full array of blooming petals in a couple of hours. These results take weeks, months, often years of committed care and tireless labor.
The farmer is up before dawn, each day out in the fields first preparing the soil, then sowing the seeds, then watering and weeding. A fertile field takes constant tending, something I have been blessed to see firsthand in my years in such a beautiful state.
In the same way, any fruit we bear in life and in faith is not going to come quickly or easily. Throughout Scripture, we see often the Lord’s plan takes years, or even generations, to come to fruition. And for the Lord to bear fruit in each of us takes a faithful commitment on our part to remain in Him - not for a day or two, but for the long haul.
The Psalmist makes this clear. Even a tree planted by a fruitful source of life will take years to come to full maturity. But a plant removed from its source of life will have no chance whatsoever.
So, if you truly want to bear fruit, connect with the Source of Life daily and don’t give up.
Every fertile seed will bear its fruit in due season.
Daniel “D.J.” Kiewel is a reporter for the Great Bend (Kan.) Tribune. He can be reached at email@example.com.