There once was an king who didn’t believe in miracles. One day, while he was seated in a garden, one of his closest counselors began speaking of the wonderful works of God. He went on and on about how God was constantly at work—in the little things and the big.”
Initially, the king listened politely. Finally, however, he had had enough. “Show me a sign,” said the king, “and I will believe.”
The counselor thought for a moment. He then pulled something out of his pocket.
“Here are four acorns,” said the counselor. “Please, your Majesty, plant them in the ground. When you are finished, stoop down for a moment and look into this clear pool of water?”
The king did so.
“Now,” said the counselor, “look up.” The king looked up and saw four enormous oak trees where he had planted the acorns.
“Wonderful!” the king exclaimed, “this is indeed a miracle—the work of God.”
“How long were you looking into the water?” asked the counselor.
“Only a second,” said the king.”
“Yet, eighty years have passed as a second,” said the counselor.
Skeptically, the king looked at his garments; they were threadbare. He then looked at his reflection in the water; he had become an old man. His skin was wrinkled and his beard was white.
“There is no miracle here, then,” he said angrily.
“Perhaps,” said the counselor, “but it is God’s work nonetheless, whether he did it in one second or in eighty years.”
I read this short parable some time ago and wanted to share it with you today because of some of the things mentioned in yesterday’s message at Mosaic. I was speaking to you about the kind of life we want at Mosaic and I used the illustration of a tree and how it takes time to mature and grow. It takes enormous amounts of longevity, yet, we aren’t attracted to longevity, are we? We like the immediate, the convenient. We like the thrill of spontaneity and elevate those kinds of experiences over others.
The problem with all of this is that we don’t actually live thrill by thrill. The majority our days are spent putting one foot in front of the other, a slow, plodding journey. We need to seek out, celebrate, and share our thrilling Spirit-led experiences with each other, yes, but not at the expense of being faithful and obedient to what God is doing in and through you over long periods of time.
Occasionally, God works in the immediate. But, more often than not, He works over long periods of time. This doesn’t make it any less miraculous.
Consider the couple, without child, who is prayerfully seeking adoption. It takes, sometimes, years to work through this process. Yet, God is working throughout it all up to the miraculous moment when the couple finally holds their child in their arms.
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
to proclaim the year of the Lord ‘s favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
to grant to those who mourn in Zion—
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified. (Isaiah 61:1-3 ESV)
Let’s invest in longevity and commit to being faithful plodders who put one foot in front of the other. The kind of life we want at Mosaic is like that of a mighty oak tree maturing in righteousness and faith, deeply rooted in bringing God glory, and bearing kingdom fruit that endures.
Has God failed to work in your life or are you simply witnessing and experiencing a slow miracle?
How can you spend time this week, this month, this year, investing in something that will last?