January 11, 2018
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This past Christmas I was curious; just how old was the Christmas tree we cut? I had to trim off a few inches from the bottom of the tree once we got it home so it would fit properly in the house. This gave me an opportunity to easily count the growth rings; there were approximately ten. The Christmas tree farmer had to plant this particular tree ten years ago to be able to sell it to us this past Christmas. That’s planning ahead! There are a lot of different kinds of farmers who raise a variety of plants and animals, but a Christmas tree farmer has to wait longer than most for his crop to be ready to sell.
I was going to simply apply the label of patient to the Christmas tree farmer but decided to also add the label persevering. The farmer doesn’t just sit around patiently waiting years for his trees to grow to marketable size. The farmer also has to be persevering, actively tending to the trees in different ways, including pruning and shaping them so they look like Christmas trees. The Christmas tree farmer has to be patiently persevering!
The example of the Christmas tree farmer reminded me that patience and perseverance are twin qualities worth exhibiting, even if you’re not growing Christmas trees. Think of the alternative; few results of any value come our way if we are impatient and unwilling to persevere by putting forth some effort. The fable of the two frogs who fell into a bucket of cream illustrates the point.
Two frogs fell into a bucket of cream. They thrashed about but couldn’t get out. The one frog said it was useless to keep trying, gave up, and drowned. The other frog kept on thrashing about until eventually the cream turned into butter and he jumped out!
It’s not just Christmas tree farmers and frogs in a bucket of cream who need to be patiently persevering. God’s plan for all of us in carrying out His great and grand purposes is to be patiently persevering!
“You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.” Hebrews 10:36
January 13, 2017
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Next to the steps of our house is a large rock. Growing out of a nearly invisible crack in the rock is a small plant bursting with tiny bright blossoms. The little seed from which it came didn’t have deep rich soil surrounding it, only a crack in a rock with a dusting of dust. But the seed germinated, grew, and, in spite of far from ideal conditions, grew some more until it bloomed. Its presence silently shouts out an all important life principle: PERSEVERANCE!
I was fortunate to have grown up on an Iowa farm where I learned about perseverance. I remember starting the job of cleaning out the animal waste from a large cattle pen thinking the task would take forever. I had no choice but to stick to the task and, sure enough, eventually it was done. I also remember starting to till a large field with an “M” Farmal tractor and a two-bottom plow. After the first few rounds it seemed as though I had turned such a small portion of earth in the field that I thought I’d never see the end of it. But, around and around I went and eventually I finished plowing the field.
I found this quote from the television show Family Matters. “You can’t go through life quitting everything. If you’re going to achieve anything, you’ve got to stick with something.” Albert Einstein said, “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” We may think something is going to take a long time but, as Earl Nightingale wrote, “Don’t let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use.”
The little plant in the crack of the rock just beyond our front door was a tiny seed that held its ground! It persevered until it became a blooming success! There’s a lesson there!
“Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:4