Instant everything – fifteen minutes of fame?

By Dave Henning / February 22, 2022

“Instant everything.  We wish, right?  We live in a culture that aims at fifteen minutes of fame rather than fifty years of faithfulness.”- Mark Batterson

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.”- James 1:2-3 (NIV)

On Day 3 (“Get Off the Grid”) of Do It for a Day, Mark Batterson tells a story about Russian comedian Yakov Smirnoff.  When Yakow immigrated to the United States, someone asked him what he liked most about his new country.  Smirnoff’s answer – grocery stores.  Powdered milk and powdered orange juice – just add water.  And then Yakov spotted the baby powder!

However, Pastor Batterson reminds us, making and breaking habits takes longer than you like.  But the time you invest makes it all the more meaningful.

In 1947, General Mills introduced its first instant cake mix.  You only needed to add water.  Yet, the product failed to sell.  Because it was too easy to make.  Thus, less effort made making that special cake less meaningful.  Consequently, General Mills revised the mix so consumers needed to add eggs and measure milk.  As a result, sales soared.

Hence, by definition, challenge involves a degree of difficulty known as desirable difficulty.  The term refers to a task requiring considerable effort.  Not so easy that boredom results, yet not so hard that you quit.  In addition, that sweet spot is called just manageable difficulty (JMD).  As Mark notes, it’s a little:

  • outside your comfort zone
  • beyond your resources
  • past your pay grade

In conclusion, Pastor Batterson counsels, you must learn to get comfortable with discomfort.  You do so as you add time and resistance.  And, get off the grid – retreat.  For example, in the gospels, Jesus often withdrew.  While Jesus operated with a sense of urgency, He was unhurried.  So, Mark lives by a little formula:

change of pace + change of place = change of perspective

Or, as Corrie ten Boom once remarked, “If the devil cannot make us bad, he will make us busy.”

Today’s question: At what times do you want instant everything?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “The silver bullet – specificity”

About the author

Dave Henning

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