David Hegg | Climb That Mountain!

David Hegg
David Hegg is senior pastor of Grace Baptist Church and a Santa Clarita resident. "Ethically Speaking" runs Saturdays in The Signal.

By David Hegg

For centuries, societies depended almost entirely on agriculture. The recognition that ground had to be cleared and plowed, seeds sown, and plants tended was part and parcel of daily life. It took many labors and many days to reach the reward of harvest. The reality of life was that perseverance was necessary. Hard work, consistently exercised over time, was the daily reminder that good things come at a price and that the things that matter most and ultimately bring the most profound satisfaction and fullest joy require a long perseverance in doing the right, even hard, thing.  

Today, it is evident we’ve largely lost the value of perseverance. It once was understood that when the going got tough, the tough got going. Today, we don’t know what to do when things don’t work, or when the WiFi dies, and the apps don’t connect.  

Technology, while enabling us to accomplish so much that is outstanding and helpful, has also reformatted our appreciation of a long obedience in the same direction. We’ve become intoxicated with immediacy. We look at those still using slower ways of doing things as ignorant, if not foolish. Working on the same thing for a whole year seems outrageous. Surely, something can be done to speed things up! After all, we landed men on the moon, can text worldwide, and cook dinner in four minutes. If success and satisfaction can’t be gained right now in my timetable, then I simply must get the latest upgrade. 

Now, don’t get me wrong. I enjoy the latest speed and power as much as the next guy. But I’m seeing that our impatience is leeching over into other areas of our lives. What we have come to expect from our phones and computers we now demand in our relationships and other fundamental areas of life. 

Take parenting, for example. Ask any expert on raising kids, and you’ll hear that the best parenting puts basic standards in place and stays consistent over time in expectations, rewards and discipline. It almost doesn’t matter what the standards are as long as you remain consistent. Parents must be on the same page, stay the course despite the whining, crying and circumstances, and consider that raising a solid, compassionate, self-directed, society-contributing citizen is a very long process. You plant seeds daily, water and fertilize them every day, and wait 20 years to see if they bear good fruit. There are no shortcuts, and those who try them usually wonder where they went wrong.  

Some time ago, during a tough time of personal reflection and doubt, I received a text from my adult son. The simplicity of the text was surpassed only by its poignancy: “Listening to your sermon on acceptance, affection, provision and protection in marriage on my way to work. I love you, Dad.” 

I read it several times until the mist grew so dense I couldn’t focus. 

For years, we raised our kids to be leaders, readers, courageous and compassionate. And all along the way, we wondered – sometimes daily! – if they would ever really “get it.” But when, as adults, they demonstrate that they can make their own way well in this world, appreciate their parents’ bedrock values, and express their love to those who sacrificed to give them both a life and a lineage, the joy is truly inexpressible.  

Whether parenting, running a business, or simply being a useful, beneficial citizen in your neighborhood and society, being good, doing good and standing for good over evil demands perseverance. Success that contributes to the welfare of others will never be the result of taking shortcuts, walking the easy path, holding grudges, or living for oneself.  

Things that come easily and quickly are usually also the things that are easily forgotten. But those things that take time and require intentional and consistent perseverance produce the stuff of lasting joy. Anything of lasting value is worth the investment of your life, including your time, energy, creativity and prayer. Like the hard-working farmer, let’s never lose sight of the fact that the reward for harvest comes only after months and months of labor.  

If success is found at the top of the mountain, perseverance means doing what is best and right regardless of how long and challenging the climb. Here’s hoping the generations that come behind us understand the value of hard work and develop the grit to persevere no matter what.  

Local resident David Hegg is senior pastor of Grace Baptist Church. “Ethically Speaking” appears Sundays. 

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