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May 12, 2015

The Cumulative Effect

Galatians 6:7-9 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

One of my jobs joys at the Quirk household is bathing the boys and putting them to bed. My boys are currently 8 and 4, which means bath time can still be an adventure – especially with my 4 year old. Almost every night the boys get in an argument on who is taking the first bath (or last bath); which bath tub we will use; which colored tablets we will put in the water (and how many); is the water too hot or too cold; which soap/shampoo are we going to use; are we going to put toys in the bathtub, and will tonight be a long or a short bath… Then after bath-time we settle down for a bit, then head to bed, where it starts over again… which book is getting read, and if more than one, who’s book gets read first; who’s song gets sung first; who did Daddy pray for longer (or God forbid I say something different in one of the boys prayers than the other’s); I tell both boys that God loves them, I love them, Mommy loves them, Sissy loves them, and so many others. I ask them every night why they think I love them… Their response, because I have grilled it into their head a gazillion times is, “Because I’m your boy” (I never want them to think my love for them is based on performance or behavior, it’s based on who they are – and they are mine… kind of like God’s love for us, and last I checked, my kids will view God’s love for them through the lens of my love for them)… I then lay in the floor to make sure the “bad guys” don’t attack – then when they’re asleep, or really close, I get up…

I’m not going to lie – it can be an exhausting experience. “Shut your trap so I can pray for you” has come out of my mouth before… “I’m gonna leave and the bad guys will get you” – well, I haven’t actually said that, but I’ve been tempted… There are times when I’ve wondered if they hear a word I say. There are times when I’ve wondered if they like bath-time. There are times when I’ve wondered if I’m any good at this parenting thing… There are times when I’ve wondered, “Do they really know how much I love them and that I would do anything for them?” There are times I’ve wondered if all parents feel this way sometimes, or is bedtime at their house like the movies portray – peaceful, loving, peaceful, fun, peaceful, meaningful, peaceful, sentimental, and did I mention peaceful? Or does their’s look like this video sometimes too?

All this said, if you were to ask me one of my favorite things in the world, I would say, “putting the kids to bed.” I don’t know that I’ve had many, if any, experiences when I’ve walked out of the bedroom after putting the kids to bed and thought, “Man, heaven moved tonight! My kids and I are so much closer after tonight than we were yesterday!” However, I can say without a doubt that my relationship with my kids has grown throughout the years by the consistency of this seemingly insignificant, sometimes frustrating, event.


There is a cumulative effect (value) in investing small amounts of time into certain activities over a long period of time… In today’s society and mindset, when we don’t see immediate results or immediate change, we get frustrated and assume it’s of no worth or value. THAT COULDN’T BE FURTHER FROM THE TRUTH! In the scripture above, Paul encourages us to not grow weary of doing good, to not grow weary when we don’t seem to be reaping what we’re sowing, to not grow weary when everything within us tells us to quit, tells us to give up… why? IN DUE SEASON – we will reap the reward.

While my above example is about my kids, the same principle is true in every area of our lives…

  • There is a cumulative value to feeding myself spiritually. While I may not wake up the morning after reading a good devotional and have the angels greet me at the foot of my bed singing the Hallelujah Chorus, there is a cumulative value over time. Things I have struggled with I start to struggle with less. Things that wear me down tend to not wear me down as much. That cumulative value is that my mind is being renewed and I am being transformed (Romans 12:1-2) into the person God has created me to be.
  • There is a cumulative value in pouring into my wife. Affirming her, loving her, speaking well of her, adoring her, helping/serving her, supporting her, dreaming with her, believing in her – while each individual act of love in and of itself may not seem to be that big of a deal… over time, there is a cumulative value.
  • There is a cumulative value in our physical/health life. One day, one week, of working out and making healthy choices may not reap huge benefits – but there is a cumulative value over time. Consistency!
  • There is a cumulative value in handling finances. Not buying that one item, or not using the card that one time, or putting that small amount in savings may not seem to make a big difference – but there is a cumulative value!

This list is pretty much endless…. DON’T GROW WEARY!!!

Sadly, neglect has a cumulative effect as well, and it works the same way – you may not notice negative consequences immediately, but over time it will set you up for destruction and heartache! Go back in the prior list and neglect any area I mentioned, or whatever area came to your mind, and understand there will be a cumulative effect to that neglect. Maybe not tomorrow, maybe not the next day – and that’s the trap! That’s where we can become deceived so easily. We are lulled into selfishness (and isn’t that what this is really about most of the time – or as the above scripture states, sowing to the flesh vs sowing to the Spirit). Selfishness leads to neglect, and if I haven’t mentioned it yet, neglect has a cumulative effect! 

I had an open conversation with my little girl not too long ago. Now I will point out here that I am NOT SUPER DAD (or super-Christian, or Super-husband, or Super-health guy, etc…) Anyway – she had asked me to play basketball with her (which she does most every day), and I told her I didn’t feel like it… then she said, “You never feel like it!” and walked away – I sat there for about a minute and contemplated what she had said – while she wasn’t 100% accurate in her assessment (I play basketball with her quite a bit) – her statement still hit my heart, and I knew there was SOME truth to it… I thought to myself, I’m going to tell her tonight at bedtime that I love her and I would do anything for her – and RIGHT NOW I have a chance to SHOW HER. So I got up and went to the driveway to shoot hoops. She said, “I thought you didn’t feel like it,” to which I replied, “I don’t, but life isn’t always about doing what I feel like doing. Sometimes I do things I don’t really want to do because I know that you do.” I don’t know that she truly appreciated the moment – but I believe wholeheartedly there is a cumulative value… and you know what – halfway through the game, I felt like doing it….

I promise if you stay consistent in healthy things – you will reap huge benefits over time – maybe not tomorrow, or the next day, or the next day, but some where along the road you’ll look back and see the cumulative growth and be amazed!

So – DON’T GROW WEARY…. Keep doing the little things (that really aren’t so little)!! You’ll be glad you did!

May God continue to be your treasure (Matthew 13:44-46)

Written by Pastor Glenn Quirk