As a whole, Americans tend to be impatient people. As a people, our expectations commonly demand (a) speed, (b) efficiency, (c) effectiveness, and (d) productivity. "We want results! We want the right results! And we want the right results now!"

You want to make the American public complain? Make them tolerate "slow." Force them to endure "inefficient." Make them accept "ineffective" results. Require them to wait without explanation.

American Christians are Americans. Because our culture is impatient, we tend to be impatient. Our impatience creates a basic spiritual problem. We impatient Christians belong to an extremely patient God and follow an incredibly patient Savior. Our God endured the "slowness" of spiritually "ineffective" people who "produced" negative results for hundreds of years. He refused to allow faithless, untrusting people to deter Him from moving toward the perfect solution for evil in human life. Our Savior made preparation to teach earth's entire population without benefit of technology by training twelve men. It was almost three hundred years after Jesus' crucifixion before believers became a world movement.

To us, anything requiring a decade "takes too long." Anything requiring more than a lifetime is totally unacceptable. "My life is not a spiritual investment in someone else's future! I intend for my life to produce NOW spiritual results to my benefit!"

Consider a common attitude among Christians. "Marriages failing? Fix them now! Parenting techniques alienating children? Fix them now! Evil tempting and destroying teenagers? Fix situations now! Too many spiritually weak in the church? Remedy the situation now! Too few being led to Christ? Remedy the situation now!" Whatever the problem, find the cause, find a solution, and fix it! We demand results! Now!

Have you noticed (in your own life if nowhere else) people problems do not "fix" quickly? Do we really believe human dilemmas created by problem situations over a period of fifty years can be "fixed" in a month? six months? a year? Do we really believe it is as simple as discovering "the solution" that "works" and "plugging" it in a system?

West-Ark does not seek "quick fixes." We are committed to genuine "turn around"--in developing marriage commitments, teaching parenting commitments, making sick relationships healthy, resisting temptations, building spiritual strength, and guiding people to Jesus.

For these worthy goals to become reality, "turn around" must occur. Where? In our understanding of spiritual existence. In our hearts. In our minds. In our Christian character. In our Christian integrity. In our relationship with Jesus. In our relationship with God. We must desire to be in Christ what God knows we can become.

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Bulletin Article, 17 December 2000

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