Very early in my career, I was appointed to represent our property-casualty insurance company to agents who sold for us in North central Ohio. My boss traveled with me, initially, to introduce me to these independent business owners, so we spent a fair amount of “windshield time” together over a two-week span. He taught me much as we drove from town to town, and one piece of advice that never strayed too far from my mind was this: “Some people have one year’s experience 20 times, and some people build up 20 years’ experience one time.” It was a call to continual growth through unrelenting application—maturing in knowledge and increasing in effectiveness. Decades later, I remain grateful to him and to others who shared of their wisdom and experience, deepening my understanding and raising my sights.
At greater depth and grander scale, God desires for us a lifetime of ongoing growth and increasing fruitfulness, for the two are always linked in His Kingdom, the former leading to the latter. “You did not choose me,” said Jesus to His followers, “but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last.”1 He has saved us from eternal separation from God, certainly, the Spirit giving birth to our spirit2, for which we are forever thankful. Yet just as earthly parents would want for their children, our Heavenly Father longs to see us grow up and flourish, and truth be known, we want this, too, for virtually no one wants to exit this life without having brought value and meaning to someone else. As one who has gone before us, then, Peter points to the path of purpose, urging us to add to our faith other divine character traits such as knowledge, self-control, perseverance and love. “For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”3
One year’s experience 20 times? No, God’s plan for us is much higher than this, so He carries us through infancy, encourages us through toddlerhood, guides us through adolescence, and, through a mature and maturing us, changes lives around the world, for good and forever.
Since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for your and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will though all spiritual wisdom and understanding. And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might … (Colossians 1:9-11a)
1 John 15:16
2 John 3:6
3 2 Peter 1:5-8