Tag Archives: Worthwhile

Worthwhile Things Take Time

From thought to reality in less than a year.
From thought to reality in less than a year.

[Solomon] had spent seven years building [the temple]. 1 Kings 6:38b

Worthwhile things take time.

In the nearly 50 years of my lifetime I believe the greatest change in our culture has been the speed with which we live our lives. Our technological age has pushed the envelope of speed in nearly every area of life.

When I was a kid, I delivered the afternoon edition of the Des Moines newspaper on four square blocks up Madison Avenue from Lawnwoods Drive to Lower Beaver Road, south to Douglas Avenue and then back up Lawnwoods catching the side streets of Garden, Seneca, and Fleming Avenues in between. There were two papers printed each day back then to get more news out to the public faster. News traveled at the speed that my eleven year old feet could carry it in Chuck Taylor high-tops.

My "Paper Route"
My “Paper Route”

When I got home, I read the newspaper myself. I was always fascinated by the small “blurbs” that newspaper editors used to fill space on the page. “Blurbs” were small articles just a sentence or two long. Usually, it was a news story from the far reaches of the world that had little relevance to anyone in Des Moines such as a massive earthquake that struck a remote province in China.

Today, my phone would notify me of that same earthquake minutes after it happened with links to photos, videos and eyewitness reports. Suddenly, everything that happens is newsworthy and we are aware of everything that happens in an instant. Everything happens faster than before. Things get old quicker. Things are obsolete almost as quickly as you purchase them. Fads come and go in a day (remember the “Harlem Shake?”).

Today, I’m thinking about Solomon’s seven year effort to build the temple, and thinking about the house that Wendy and I are watching emerge from a vision in our heads to reality in less than a year. I’m thinking about some of the great building projects of history that spanned generations, and I wonder what it was like for a craftsman to dedicate his whole life to a building project that he knew he would never see completed.

I love all that that technology has afforded us. I love that I can have a coffee date with Taylor in Scotland via FaceTime. I love that Madison can text me from whichever airport she happens to be in at any moment and I can instantly communicate with her from anywhere. And yet, I am aware that having the world at our fingertips 24/7/365 has not made us better people, nor wiser, nor more satisfied.

Worthwhile things take time, but we increasingly steal time from our lives in search of worthwhile things.

 

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Chapter-a-Day Judges 6

I'm not listening. Gideon said to him, "Me, my master? How and with what could I ever save Israel? Look at me. My clan's the weakest in Manasseh and I'm the runt of the litter." Judges 6:15 (MSG)

Consider, for a moment, some of the "heroes" of God's story:

  • Jacob: the younger son, a deceiver, becomes the father of the twelve tribes of Israel.
  • Joseph: the youngest of Jacob's sons, became the most powerful man in Egypt and saved the nation.
  • Moses: an orphan and a murderer on the lam (with speech impediment to boot) leads Israel out of bondage and delivers God's law.
  • Deborah: a woman leads Israel in a time when women had about as much social standing as livestock.
  • Gideon: the "run of the litter" leads Israel to defeat the Midianites.
  • David: the youngest, smallest son of Jesse becomes the greatest King of Israel, through whom Jesus would be born. All this despite being an adulterer and murder.
  • Solomon: the youngest son of David, born out of a scandalous marriage to Bathsheba, becomes the most powerful king in Israel's history.
  • Mary: a young girl with no social standing, becomes the mother of Jesus.
  • Jesus disciples: an eclectic, rag-tag group of uneducated misfits would turn the world upside down sharing the good news of Jesus.
  • Paul: a murderer and persecutor of Christians becomes the most influential follower and apostle of Jesus.

Anyone see a pattern?

As human beings, I've noticed that we are quick to believe the most negative things about ourselves. "God would never use me. I'm not sure God even loves me. I could never to anything worthwhile for God. I'm too…worthless, sinful, ugly, small, fat, dumb, short, stupid, dirty, weak, sick, poor, young, old, sinful, untalented, unknown, unlucky, unimportant, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera."

Look at the list again. 

Join the club.

Creative Commons photo courtesy of Flickr and Ashley Rose