This past week was a busy one for my team, complete with late nights in the office and working through lunches. But as I was reading my Bible early Tuesday morning, a passage struck me. From 2 Kings 3:16-17 in the NASB.
He said, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Make this valley full of trenches.’ For thus says the Lord, ‘You shall not see wind nor shall you see rain; yet that valley shall be filled with water…
In this verse, God has the people do the hard labor of preparation, digging trenches. But when the way is prepared, God delivers. That’s exactly what my team and I have been doing this past week–digging trenches. We’re laying the foundation of this new business, so that sustainability will follow. The hard work and long hours are the digging and the product we’ve assembled in this rush, the trenches. Now we wait for water. Tomorrow I want to talk about this concept of digging trenches and how it applies to entrepreneurs. But I believe it’s an important life tool for everyone.
- Digging Trenches is Waiting: Especially in this day and age, the virtue of patience is faded. Having spent time in Africa, I’ve seen first hand the time it takes people in developing nations to do basic parts of living. Where we turn an oven on or start the washer, they start a fire with charcoal and scrub their clothes with lye. What I might spend ten minutes doing, they spend an hour. These advances that we’ve made are amazing–suddenly we have time to dedicate to intellectual pursuit–but have come with a negative societal consequence: we don’t wait. If a web page doesn’t download in a nanosecond, we’re infuriated and close everything. And I feel like there is a sense of entitlement that is going to ruin us. We can expect things to be handed to us and become frustrated when that’s not how it works out. Because in reality, while many things in our life our high-speed, our character and intellect is not developed that quickly. That requires patience.
- Digging Trenches is Investing: Every other Sunday I talk about investing in yourself. And that’s definitely one thing that digging trenches can mean. Digging trenches by investing in yourself looks like getting an education, discovering what you’re passionate about and talented at, taking an unpaid internship to gain experience. These things take time and labor and can feel pointless at times. But that’s all part of digging the trench. By putting the hours in here, success or blessing will come later. This investing is also true in other life areas, like investing in a relationship or a community project. At the beginning of these things, it can feel like trudging along. But once the path is laid, it’s easy to move forward. Investing keeps us connected to others by showing that we’re willing to put in the effort and care.
- Digging Trenches is Having Hope: Beyond the physical practicalities of digging trenches, there is one fundamental aspect: hope. Digging trenches is in essence having hope for a better future. It is not naive hope that trust in nothing. But it is a hope that trusts in your effort and your God. You get an education because you have hope that it will lead to a good job. You ask someone out because you have hope that it will lead to a relationship. You volunteer because you have hope that it will change your community. Without hope, forward motion is pointless. There is no growth. But with hope, by digging trenches, we believe in a better tomorrow.
What trenches are you digging right now?
Come back tomorrow to hear how this topic is applied to the world of entrepreneurs!