I live in the country and we heat our house with a wood stove. Sometimes the weather can get down into the low 20’s degrees Fahrenheit, which is pretty cold for California. Yes I know, but in California that is cold. On those mornings when it is below freezing I have to crawl out of my cozy warm bed and go outside in the freezing cold and collect wood. Usually takes me three trips out in the cold to get enough wood to fill the wood stove. Then I have to tear up paper, work with the kindling and coax the frozen wood to catch fire. It still takes another 15-20 minutes before heat is coming from the stove and much longer before the house begins to heat up.
I do not like going out in the cold to get wood. So on the next freezing morning I am going to tell the wood stove in my most convincing voice, “If you would just put out some heat, when it is warmer, I will go outside and fetch your wood. You know I am good for it. I have given you wood all these years, why don’t you give me a little break and put out some heat?“ Pretty silly, huh? But I see this scenario played out almost everyday. We want something, and we want it NOW, but we are not willing to put the work in that it takes to achieve it. We wait until conditions are more favorable or comfortable, like waiting for it to warm up outside before going out and retrieving the wood. Life does not work that way; we have to do the hard work, sometimes in unfavorable and uncomfortable conditions before we can receive the reward. Just like with my wood stove, you have to put something IN, before you can get something OUT.
What is even more interesting is that I usually warm up just from all the work I put into carrying wood, loading the stove and coaxing the fire. Sometimes we receive our reward just by going through the process, the final reward is just a bonus! As Pastor Larry McElvain says, success is not always a product but a process.
HAVE YOU EVER HAD THE OCCASION WHERE PLANNING AN EVENT WAS MORE GRATIFYING THAN THE ACTUAL EVENT?