Parenting, again, is not so much about single actions of teaching, grace, mercy, and provision, but instead about a long, sustained pattern of consistency. That’s where the true power is. It’s true in parenting, just as it is in exercise, in budgeting, even in reading. And it’s also true in discipleship. Gates’ quote rings especially true in that arena.
In his book The Road Ahead, Bill Gates wrote, “We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction.” Of course, Gates was writing primarily about technological advancement, which he has plenty of knowledge of. But he was also writing in a more general sense. As a humanitarian and philanthropist, Gates has also born witness, both good and bad, of the monumental change for either that can happen over a sustained period of time.
He’s right. We tend to have a very limited scope of vision. No, discipleship is not about short-term gains. It’s the long game. Perhaps it’s the society we have been raised in, one in which the demand for immediacy permeates everything from the way we want our food to the way we want our entertainment. We want “it” how we want “it”, and we want “it” right now. Consequently, we as a people have very little taste for the long game. But perhaps that’s not even forceful enough. If we can’t see the impact; if we can’t see the effect; if we can’t see the immediate change, then we conclude that there is no impact, effect, or change coming at all and so we move on.