I think about spiritual disciplines like quarters. They’re little daily investments.

Praying once, searching the Scriptures once, serving once—they’ll be nice and have some influence on the day. But they won’t sustain.

And if you miss a day, no need to be racked with guilt. It’ll be okay. The one-time hit or miss isn’t the real issue. It’s the drip, drip, drip over time that makes the difference.

You’ve probably heard the same about financial investing. Slow and steady. With the marvel of compound interest, the investments you make today keep building on themselves over time.

With spiritual disciplines, each small investment shapes you. We know this—it’s how most things in our lives work. When was the day that you got in such great (or bad!) physical shape? You can’t name it. It was a long series of quarters. For most millionaires, the day they became a millionaire… was just the next day in a series of small investments.

Of course, there are also landmark moments. The person who inherits her millions can tell you the day it happened. Even more for the person who lost his fortune in a day. Spiritually, these compare to the person who had a sudden conversion or a tragic fall from grace.

But a lot of it is quarters. Each little investment on its own may not do a lot.[1] A day missed isn’t the end of the world. But drop in eight quarters a day for 60 years, and you end up with $1 million.[2]

We’d read this to assume that we make the investments in our own growth. A better way to think about it starts with spiritual disciplines as means of grace. These practices are means of receiving God’s grace, as God makes it available to us. Through them, God invests his grace in us.


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[1] Although occasionally that ordinary routine becomes something extraordinary––the day you read a certain passage or showed up to serve somewhere and it changed your life.
[2] I’m using an 8% return rate.