Father’s Day is a little sweeter this year. Back in January, my Dad survived emergency surgery and eleven days in the ICU at a Chilean hospital while traveling internationally. A Father’s Day celebration was no sure thing and so I am grateful and reflective as it arrives. As I often stress, disciples are learners. One of our greatest teachers is always our Fathers. While my Dad might not classify himself as a spiritual man, he taught me a lesson that has had an enormous impact on my life and my walk with God.
The Bible often compares life to the building of a house. Psalm 127 uses the analogy of house building to illustrate growing a family. Ephesians 2:19-22 uses building as a picture for the church. In Matthew 7:24-29, Jesus uses house building as a metaphor for how to build your life. My Dad didn’t build professionally, but he built a bunch of houses. Many of my earliest memories are of playing on piles of lumber and hammering nails while my Dad built the house that I consider my childhood home.
About ten years ago, I set out to build my own house. I don’t have the knowledge or skills of my Father and so most days contained a phone call to my Dad for his counsel. Early on, he gave me some advice that I had seen him live out all his life. It is the best lesson my Dad ever taught me.
He said, “Kevin, if you want to finish a house, you have to do something every day.”
This simple statement is the Principle of Consistent Progress and it can change your life. It takes time to do big things. You can’t build a house in a day, week or a month. Nor can you write a book, build a business, get in shape or grow to spiritual maturity overnight. It takes time. Yet time alone isn’t enough. The passing of time just makes you old. You have to use it to make progress.
The beauty in my Father’s advice is that there is no burden of amount. That is a life saver. Sometimes while building our house, I would get frustrated by not accomplishing as much in a day as I had wanted. I’ll bet you have had that experience in other areas. My solace was knowing that I did something that day. I made some progress. I advanced the ball forward and I was closer to my goal. When you do that day after day after day, an amazing thing happens. You get there. Before you know it, the house is built. The book is written. The project is complete. Consistent progress is the key. Whatever you want to accomplish, just do something to move forward each day. Some days it might not seem like much. That is okay. Just do something and then do something again the next day.
Spiritually, this principle is transformative. Growth takes time. Don’t expect it to happen in a weekend. Often, we make some comittment to change or grow. We begin with great resolve and effort, but we quickly fade when we don’t perceive the results that we are hoping for. The thing with spiritual growth is that it isn’t readily visible. When you build a wall, you see it. When the roof goes on, the progress is obvious. Spiritually, results are harder to track and this makes consistent progress all the more important. Do something everyday and trust that God will do something with it.
Read some bible everyday. Pray some everyday. Serve someone everyday. Talk about Jesus everyday. Do something everyday and you will grow. God will use it. Some days you will do a lot and make a lot of progress. Some days you will do a little and make a little progress. Forward motion is the key. Keep advancing and before you know it, your house will be built.
Father’s Day is a great day to celebrate our Dads and the lessons learned. Most of what I’ve been able to do in my life is because my Dad taught me how to get to work each day. He taught me the Principle of Consistent Progress. Thanks Dad. Happy Father’s Day!