Hurry Up and Wait

Blog / Produced by The High Calling
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"Follow me, and I will make you fishers of people." Matthew 4:19
"He also said, 'The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground, and would sleep and rise night and day, and the seed would sprout and grow, he does not know how.'" Mark 4:26-27

Jesus used two images of the Christian life that are, well, boring: fishing and farming. Not the most exciting enterprises.

The first involves a tackle box of miniature torture devices worthy of Edgar Allen Poe: barbs and hooks and lead weights, bobbers and lures and, if one is serious about the sport, a self-tied fly or two. Actually, the flies are often hooked into the fisher’s cap next to a sown patch of a wide-mouth fish, curved in flight, hope displayed there like Neanderthal drawings of deer on cave walls. The fishing devotee pushes through vines and shrubs and flops over fallen logs in search of the perfect lake or stretch of stream to sink a hook or throw a line and . . . and . . . and wait. Sometimes hours. Sometimes days. A baseballian venture at best: "Hmmm. “What pitch will he throw next? Tap. Tap. Tap."

Then farming: that grueling day-after-day enterprise of turning soil, plowing rows, dropping seed, broadcasting fertilizer, priming irrigation pumps, battling bugs, slogging through each day praying for rain, fearing floods, and waiting—waiting to see growth.

We find ourselves on this tilted globe for only a brief time to hurry up and wait. We are, the Psalmist wrote, like grass that quickly fades and withers (Ps. 90:5-6). You would think our short tenure would require a frenzy to do something meaningful before we are quickly concluded. Yet Jesus implies that the trail of discipleship involves significant stretches of daily plodding: a disappointing fact for some of us experience junkies, needing ever-higher heights to mount—or jump from.

Then I think of Andy Dufresne played by Tim Robbins in The Shawshank Redemption (1994). Incarcerated for life for a murder he didn’t commit, Andy was allowed to have a small hammer for his hobby of carving miniature figurines out of small stones. Every night, Andy peeled back a poster on the concrete wall of his cell and chipped away. Night after night, chip after chip, digging fractions of an inch at a time until he broke through and made his escape.

We’re not here for long. But it’s amazing what a person can do over the allotted time: sink a hook, throw some seed, chip away.

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