I was recently watching a documentary on the UCLA basketball team of the 60’s and 70’s. (For those of you who are ignorant of basketball history, UCLA dominated college basketball at that time.) The famed coach, John Wooden, was being highlighted as a leader who was able to hold his team together during the turbulent times surrounding Vietnam, racial tension, and that whole love, hippie thing, movement, thing . . . Anyway, his books and teachings are still celebrated today. Check them out here.
Numerous players–like Bill Walton and Beau Bridges–were interviewed and openly discussed what it was like to be a basketball player during the Wooden reign. Toward the end, Walton explained: “I didn’t realize that coach was teaching us more than basketball; years later I realized that he was teaching us about life. Now I find myself telling my kids what coach used to tell us on the court.”
So, I was thinking . . . How often do we see an immediate return on our investments? Not too often. And when you invest your own time, effort, and energy into people, it may be a while before you see or experience the benefits, but don’t despair. In his day, the Apostle Paul was aware of the same predicament, and he wrote this encouragement: “Be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (1 Corinthians 15:58). So don’t grow discouraged in your godly work. Investments take time grow. Lessons take time to appreciate. But your faithfulness may be what brings it together in the end. To quote Wooden, “We shouldn’t expect good things to happen overnight. Actually, getting something too easily or too soon can cheapen the outcome.”