“Something’s wrong with our Jasper,” his excited mother cried with alarm in rapid-fire sentences. “He needs help!”
“What seems to be the trouble?” Mrs. Brown, the reading teacher, responded.
“Everything he does is in slow motion!” Angela explained. Her words hit the air as fast as machine gun fire.
Mrs. Brown stopped multi-tasking and tuned in to listen carefully.
“Everyone else is normal! But Jasper–he reads slowly, eats like he has three weeks to finish his food. He talks so slow that we need to take a day off to hear the end of his sentences! Why, he’s the only little cowhand in our ranch who has fewer miles on his cowboy boots than any 7-year-old in the entire county!”
“Why is that?” the teacher wanted to know.
“Because he walks slower than a turtle on the run!”
So Jasper was enrolled in Mrs. Brown’s reading program. His family’s wish was that he would move a little faster so he was more useful on the ranch. They wanted him to be “normal.” But would he ever speak as fast as the rest of the family?
Mrs. Brown wish was that he read faster. The State Department of Education required all second-grade students to read at a rate over 100 words a minute. Still, there were a lot of things she could do to speed him up. Smart wasn’t the issue. Speed was.
When Jasper came ambling into the reading room for the first time, he had a broad smile on his face that was perfect for school picture day. But he didn’t make it all the way into the room – in slow motion, of course – until after he admired a ladybug on the door frame.
“Ummm.” he smiled. “She’s………….a………….beauty!”
Mrs. Brown noticed this happy little boy savored his words as if they were bites of a juicy rib-eye steak.
Over time, Mrs. Brown tried every skill and technique she knew. Still Jasper, always with a satisfied smile on his face, read at his same speed, taking the time to chew up and savor every word before he finished.
It was obvious he loved what he read, “Wow!” he would exclaim – in slow motion of course.
Jasper never did speed up. He discovered reading even helped him running a ranch as he grew up to be a successful rancher, husband, father, and reader. But never fast.
Jasper’s wife would tell you he still loved to savor each of his words like a rib-eye steak. “So when he tells me ‘I love you with all my heart, Marnie’, it means even more.”
God created Jasper with all the gifts in place that He wanted him to have. Jasper’s speed was never an issue with God. He had patience with the man Jasper would become. Though Jasper may never have read fast enough for the State Department of Education or move fast enough for his siblings and parents, he was perfect in God’s eyes.
Jesus himself tells the parable of the kingdom of Heaven in terms of seed and growth. “A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. All by itself the soil produces grain – first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head.” [Mark 4:27-28 NIV.]
So our personal skills and spiritual growth come along slowly – perhaps even without realizing it, we grow. Eventually, we produce a bounty out of the gifts God gives us. And God is pleased.
And if everything we do is in slow motion, that’s okay by God.
[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of articles, anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and website, www.button-to-god.com. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]