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Glorious Plodding

Ok, maybe not glorious. But valuable.

Maybe these thoughts are self-serving. Perhaps I am only trying to justify my own philosophy of life. Then again, there is truth here that transcends my experience for sure.

Think of the slow-moving and unexciting swing of the pendulum on a grandfather clock.

Call to mind the thoroughness required when combing nits out of a little girl's hair.

I remember distinctly from my younger days hoeing pumpkin rows that were so long that I could only finish 6 of them in a whole day. That job did not require imagination or even much intelligence, but it did demand a lot of consistent, hard, callous producing, sweat inducing work.

Plodding is trudging on when it would be so much easier to stop.

To plod is to tramp on and on through territory that is difficult to traverse.

The plodder drags himself forward when motivation is low and energy is spent.

Those who plod may be lumbering heavily along with sore muscles and a limping gait, but progress is still being made.

When you plod you might have to slog through mire that stinks and sticks to you despite your best effort to place each step on solid ground. But you continue anyway.

Abraham was a plodder. According to the Scripture he walked through Canaan his whole life long, looking for a city that he never found. Not in this life.

Jacob was a plodder. Fourteen years he spent working and waiting for his time to come to marry Rachel. And then he waited more years still until she gave him Joseph. After Joseph disappeared and was presumed dead, Jacob plodded on in sadness and without hope. But still trusting in God.

Paul was a plodder. Trip after trip. Trial after trial. Trouble upon trouble.

In his own words: "We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh." (2nd Corinthians 4:8-11)

There are many other examples. But you can find them through your own meditation. The principle is unavoidable in the biblical record.

Some of us like excitement. We may favor giant leaps. We can dream of a "lottery winning brand" of success. But this is not realistic. It isn't reality. In fact, Solomon wrote, "Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathers by labour shall increase." (Proverbs 13:11)

This is what we call "sweat equity." The time and energy and effort that we pour into the acquiring of a thing becomes the real value of it. It's packaged in the truism, "patience is a virtue." It's packaged in the command and demand that stewards remain faithful. It's encompassed in the exhortation to persevere. It's implied in the commendation offered to those who overcome. It's included in the accusation, "winners never quit, and quitters never win." It's illustrated in the story of the little engine that could, and in the fable of the tortoise and the hare. It's one of the most obvious moral principles stamped indelibly upon our human conscience.

So, just keep on keeping on. You will be opposed. You will face discouragement. You will be unappreciated. You will feel like you aren't making a difference. Life will hurt. Days will be dreary and nights weary. You will long to escape. You will crave an easier path. But just keep placing one foot in front of the other; looking to the Master and leaning on His everlasting arms. As the old hymn puts it, "It will be worth it all—when we see Christ."

So plod on, Christian friend. Plod on. Plod on in faith. But plod on. It may not be glorious right now, but it will be in the end. An award ceremony is coming. On that day the plodders will be the ones with crowns. Fight the good fight of faith, even when loss seems guaranteed. After all, Jesus did say that those who lose their life for His sake, will find it; will save it; will preserve it forever.

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