Real Change Takes Time

Did you hear the one about the country bumpkin who took his family to the big city for the first time? Lost in a strange place, he stopped in front of a multi-story hotel building. Father and son went inside to get some directions.

Standing in the lobby, they were looking around for someone to ask. They spied a kind-looking old man with a cane and started toward him. They drew back, though, when the wall opened up for him! They watched in amazement as the wall closed, numbers above the opening grew larger then smaller, and the doors opened again. Out came a young man in confident stride and business suit. "Son, wait right here," said the farmer. "I'm going to get in that thing!"     

All of us could wish change came so quickly and so painlessly. I'd rather lose 20 pounds with a pill than deny myself extra helpings or desserts and begin to exercise. Some people prefer to saddle themselves with debt to buy a house full of furniture rather than buy furniture as they can afford it or to buy a new car they could easily do without. And so the stories go. We want what we want - now.          

I even think I see a lot of anger in today's world that is tied to the same thing. Petty people get mad at the good fortune of others. They want immediately what someone else attained over time. Immature people want the recognition and life status other people earned over years, but they want it on a silver platter - today.          

We laugh at the bumpkin who thought an elevator was a magic box that made old into young, stooped into sprightly, and plain into stylish. Maybe we should be laughing at ourselves. Going to college doesn't make one wise. Driving an expensive car doesn't confer refinement or personality. Living in an exclusive part of town says nothing about the happiness of the people who live in its newest and nicest house. And going to church doesn't confer spirituality.          

Authentic change in looks, lifestyle, and personality takes place over time. If there is an outcome you'd like, the surest way to achieve it is not to waste your money on dangerous pills or to squander it on lottery tickets. Set a worthy goal, identify the incremental steps necessary to get there, and begin your journey. Know in advance that the wisdom, discipline, and understanding that come from the journey are equally as valuable as anything at its end.

Rubel Shelly

Rubel Shelly is a Preacher and Professor of Religion and Philosophy located in Rochester Hills, Michigan. In addition to church and academic responsibilities, he has worked actively with such community projects as Habitat for Humanity, American Red Cross, From Nashville With Love, Metro (Nashville) Public Schools, Faith Family Medical Clinic, and Operation Andrew Ministries. To learn more about Rubel please go to:

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