This is the time of year, at least in North Carolina, for working in the yard and garden. As I was spreading mulch, pulling weeds and working in the flowerbeds and natural areas around my house, I noticed the trees I planted two and three years ago were finally taking shape. Honestly, I was about to give up on some of them. Some take more time than others.
Isn’t that the way it is with people? Some of us require more time to mature and develop than others. All growth, physical, spiritual and emotional, takes time. What a powerful truth! From the wisdom literature of the Old Testament, there is a line that says, “There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven.” Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NASB).
Because of our instant-gratification culture, we expect rapid growth, quick returns, and instant results from just about everything. We are impatient and give up on things that take time to grow and develop. But, aren’t you glad God didn’t give up on us? I’m sure there were times when my parents, friends and mentors wondered if I would ever “get it,” would ever “grow-up” or ever “stand on my own two feet.” God did not give up on us; therefore, we must not give up on others or ourselves. Growth takes time, God’s time!
Have you ever fallen into the trap of wondering why your church or your ministry isn’t growing or having the results you expected? Have you ever been guilty of questioning why another person’s ministry or church does not appear to be growing? Both of these are dead-end streets!
The truth is, the ones of us with strong activator talents tend to project our needs and expectations for rapid results on others. By doing so, we overlook the importance of allowing God to work in His time, and in His way in their lives, and we judge them unfairly for not “producing” or “growing” as we think they should.
Why is it difficult for us to give ourselves (and others) time to grow? Beyond our “get it now” culture, there is a linguistic limitation. Unlike most other languages, English has only one word for the concept of time. The writers of the New Testament (Greek) used two words to speak of time: 1) “Chronos” time that can be “accounted for” and measured, and 2) “Kairos” time as a moment, time as occasion, time as qualitative rather than quantitative. “Kairos” time cannot be measured because it is always right now!” In other words, if we focus too much on “Chronos” time we fail to appreciate the “Kairos” time where God is working through divine appointments. The important thing is not to measure time, but to maximize every moment.
According to Psalms 1:3, a tree “yields its fruit in its season ” when it is planted near the river and sends its roots deep into the earth. It isn’t about how long you are planted, but how deep you send your roots!
So, just as the trees in my yard took time to grow and develop, people and ministries also take time to reach their potential. We must learn to “wait on the Lord” and let Him work, regardless of how impatient we are for right-here, right-now results! What time do you have? Time to grow? Time for God to work in your life? Time for living life to its fullest? Are you measuring or maximizing your time?