“Slow and steady wins the race” – Robert Lloyd
While watching ESPN Sports Center one night, I was struck by one of the announcers blunt assessment of a NHL hockey player: “he’s an NHL grinder, a guy who skates his lane, takes the body, and who for the better part of six seasons now has plodded along in two-bladed anonymity.” Ouch.
The dictionary defines “plodding” as a slow, heavy walk; to trudge with monotonous perseverance. But maybe plodding is not such a bad thing. Plodding is a good word to describe how God wants us to live the Christian life while we are here on this earth. Most people would not want to view themselves as just plodding along. Perfectly understandable because plodding is not exactly a pretty word; it lacks pizazz.
Success in the Christian life is not measured by remarkable spiritual accomplishments and spectacular spiritual feats. It is not about pizazz. It is measured by sure and steady progress as we “…work out your own salvation …” (Philippians 2:12 ESV) If we’re plodding, we might as well plod toward something worthwhile. As Christians, we are plodding our way to the kingdom. We need to adjust to the idea that being a Christian is not always a dazzling mountaintop experience, but involves plodding through the lowly valleys. And sometimes these spells of plodding may even be months or even years.
Some of the greatest leaders were plodders. Moses on a decades-long march. David fleeing his enemies, hiding in caves. Jesus walking from one village to the next. Paul making long looping journeys. It is the plodders who make things happen. They have faced “trials of many kinds.” and when they made steady progress by not giving up, they were stronger, wiser, and more likely to keep their eyes on the right horizon. The Christian life is not so much of a sprint as it is a marathon, and it’s better to have a good finish than a quick start. Many people have had very bad starts, but if you are to be in the kingdom, what matters most is a good finish, and that is often determined by how you recognize the power of plodding or steadiness.
As with the Apostle Paul, we don’t win the prize from God until our life’s work on earth is done. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.”(Galatians 6:9-10 NIV)
- How can we plod, or make steady consistent progress as Christians?
- How can that steady progress help us in the future?