Very often when I send my column to the papers after writing, I never know who it has touched and what the results of my words are, and I think how often we are so impatient to see the results of some effort we are putting ourselves into, maybe some venture or other! We might have to study day and night and wonder whether it is worth it and if we are wasting our time. “If only we could see our future!” we tell ourselves, “To see whether we are investing our efforts well!”
But that is not the way it is supposed to be. We invest our time, put in effort and the rewards come at their own time. Chinese proverbs are common and often have stories behind them. The proverb “pulling up a crop to help it grow” is about an impatient man in the Song Dynasty. He was eager to see his rice seedlings grow quickly, so he thought of a solution. He would pull up each plant a few inches. After a day of tedious work, the man surveyed his paddy field. He was happy that his crop seemed to have “grown” taller.
But his joy was short-lived. The next day, the plants had begun to wither because their roots were no longer deep.
Which means impatience to see results can only put an end to your investment of time and effort you are putting into an enterprise or event. Look at teachers and their hard work! Can they see the end result? Are they able to see if students they mould will reach the top, or be good for nothing? Like farming, moulding students can be continuous, hard labor. Or investment in your own family which hardly responds to your love? Maybe an alcoholic husband or cold wife?
You have to plod on. You plow, you sow, you wait, you pray. You desire to see the fruits of your labor quickly, but growth takes time. And as the Chinese proverb so aptly illustrates, any effort to hurry the process won’t be helpful.
‘As we labor faithfully, we wait patiently on the Lord, who makes things grow.’
Our prayer in this seemingly uncertain investment should be, “Dear Lord of the harvest, help us to work faithfully as we wait patiently on You for the fruit. Encourage us when we are discouraged and strengthen us when we are weary. Help us to persevere, for You are faithful!”
Because the Lord of the harvest knows even now how good your fruit will be, and if God knows then there is nothing to worry about, but to carry on and not pull up a crop!
Our job, I tell very often, an impatient me, is to sow..!
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