Eating an Elephant

My dad (and grandpa) had this great and humorous saying:

How do you eat an elephant?
(Cue the big cheesy grin)
One bite at a time.

The picture of any one person eating an entire elephant of course is quite funny (even ludicrous) – but I think there is a great deal of wisdom to be found in their words as well.

Mostly, change happens incrementally.

And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. ~ 2 Corinthians 3:18

Yes, of course, when we are first converted there is a great deal of spiritual and real change (a metamorphosis, if you will!). And yet, we also know that the Christian life is one of continual change and growth. And that kind of growth is done while running our race heavenward. It may not be big or flashy. In fact, much of our growth will be mostly unseen by others, working deep within the soil of our hearts and only coming out in the overflow. Change happens much more slowly than we like.

And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. ~ Galatians 6:9

But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. ~ 2 Peter 3:18

I have to live one day at a time.

Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. ~ Matthew 6:31-34

Tomorrow does not belong to me. Yesterday does not belong to me. The only day I have to spend is today (and I’m not even guaranteed all of today). As a friend recently reminded me, from the lyrics of a hymn: “How are we using God’s golden moments?”

It’s ok if I don’t get everything done – I must simply get the important things done.

But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. ~ Matthew 6:33

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. ~ Luke 12:34

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. ~ Deuteronomy 6:5

 But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” ~ Luke 10:41-42

By the very nature of time and my own humanity, I will have to make choices. I can’t have everything and I won’t be able to do everything. Instead, I must choose – and if our choices are like Mary’s, if we choose that good portion, we will know we have invested eternally.

So today, whatever your “elephant” is, don’t stress that you can’t eat it all at once. Just take one bite at a time, trusting that God will guide you if you ask Him.

Photo by Nam Anh on Unsplash

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