It seems that we live in an “I want it now” society, where people almost expect immediate success and achievement. Then there are the quick microwavable dinners, fast-food joints, and call-ahead seating to speed up our mealtime. Life is all about a faster Internet, 4G access, and smart phones. No one wants to go back to the antiquated ways of forty, twenty, or five years ago. For that matter, stepping back even six months is asking too much given that we want the latest and greatest. Go back to the typewriter, rotary phone, basic cell phone, or dial up Internet; no way.
Please understand, I am not suggesting there is something wrong with taking advantage of technology or succeeding as quickly as possible. However, there is a problem if we come to believe we deserve instant fulfillment. Take a young and inexperienced worker who rejects a job offer starting at the bottom because he “deserves” better. Many credit at least part of the housing woes in our country to people buying more than they could afford. So whatever happened to starting small and working your way up?
Perhaps we need to rediscover the principles of taking one step at a time toward our goals. Now I am not much of a “recreational” walker, but I know if I put one foot in front of the other I can get somewhere. And yes I may never travel as far or as fast as you do, but that is not important. What matters most is for me to do the best I can to reach my goals. So while this world owes no one success, it does provide the opportunities for us to move forward.
The first thought of a long journey often focuses on where you want to go and the best route to get there. So if you want to walk from your home to the River Center Mall in downtown San Antonio you need some sense of direction. But that is not enough; you also need to know the correct route. Putting one foot in front of another will just get you lost unless you know your way.
Fulfilling your secular goals may be all fine and good, but they do not mean much by themselves. We should focus on more important targets, those which are spiritual in nature. I am talking about being a better Christian and finally reaching heaven. How do we do this? We get there by taking one step at a time.
For example, a babe in Christ may look at a wise and mature Christian and long to be like him. But he is not going to go to bed one night young and immature, only to wake up the next day with what he wants. To get there he has to study and learn the basics, and then he can progress in understanding. (Heb. 6:1-2) It takes a routine and focused study; with each day bring him closer to his goal. (2 Tim. 2:15) By taking one step at a time he learns more and more until he is wise and mature. (Eph. 4:11-16)
All Christians should reach a point where they can effectively teach, but that does not come overnight either. (Heb. 5:12-14) There is no shortcut to learning or becoming skilled and comfortable in educating others. Take the first step by talking to someone you feel at ease with and about matters you know. Bring a more experienced teacher in to help and learn from him. Ask the preacher, one of the elders, or another trusted Christian to help you develop these skills. (2 Tim. 1:13) You can become an effective teacher by taking one step at a time.
We need men to take a leadership role in the assembly and the church. (1 Tim. 3:1-13) Prayers, songs, and serving the Lord’s Supper provide opportunities for you to lead. Take the first step by just watching and listening to others as they lead. Wait on the Lord’s Table without leading a prayer. Think about and rehearse what you want to say in a prayer before you get up in public. Nerves may kick in the first time you stand up, you might even make a mistake, but that is just another step you have to take. Get back up and do it again.
You can never have too many kind and loving people in a local church. In nearly every congregation a few members stand out in their caring and generosity. (Rom. 16:1-2) Perhaps they were thoughtful to you, and you now wish you could be more like them. Take that first step by saying a few tender words and let others know you appreciate them. (Prov. 16:24) Spend a little extra time with someone who might need your attention. (James 1:27) Invite people into your home, and not just you close friends. (Heb. 13:2) By taking one step at a time you can become that brother or sister whose compassion shines forth.