WATCHED POTS DON’T BOIL
Have you noticed how time seems to slow to snail speed whenever you are eagerly looking forward to something to happen? Surprise, surprise, there’s actually a saying for that.
It goes like, “A watched pot never boils.”
This is an idiom that means time seems to slow down when you are anxiously waiting for something to happen. For example, if you wait and watch anxiously to see something happen, it will seem to take a very long time, or it will not happen at all. The phrase is not literal in meaning because scientifically, a pot kept to boil will have absolutely no effect if one is watching it. The idiom can also mean that anticipation of an event that will eventually occur is a waste of time as it has no effect on when that event will occur.
It’s fascinating, don’t you think? It reminds me of Jesus’ reassuring words to His disciples in the Sermon on the Mount:
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?...But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.” (Matthew 6:25-34).
Apostle Paul picked up on this theme of anxiety-free living when he encouraged the Christians at Philippi to:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6).
Like most people, I’ve got a bucket list. This is the list of things I desire to have, or love to accomplish, before I kick the bucket. Bungee jump in the Macau Tower, design a device that can transport you from Los Angeles to Lagos in a blink of an eye, find a cure for HIV, win a billion-dollar lottery, and the list goes on.
On most days, I find myself staring at the pot anxiously waiting for it to boil. Yet, time seems to slow down to a crawl, and nothing seems to be happening. From time to time, I’m tempted to kick the pot to get it to hurry up. There are days when the thought of these unmet goals keeps me awake at night.
The Lord says, “Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not life more than meat, and the body than raiment?”
Compared to eternity, our temporal cravings are inconsequential. The earthly things that we fret and sweat over pale in comparison to the glory that awaits us in God’s kingdom. Acquiring the trivial things of this world to the detriment of one soul is the greatest calamity that can be visited on anyone. What’s most important in life is to live righteously and make Heaven.
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no heart has imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him.” (1 Corinthians 2:9).
No one has been to Heaven – anyone who tells you he has is lying to you, by the way. None of us knows exactly what eternity looks like. What we do know, however, is that it’s going to be nothing like we’ve ever seen before. The glimpses of Heaven’s glory revealed in Scripture are beyond what the human mind can comprehend. There are no words in human vocabularies that can accurately capture the glory that God has prepared for those who love Him.
This alone should give us comfort at moments when we get anxious about our unmet needs. The assurances of the surpassing glory should cause us to stop being consumed by our temporal desires.
Getting antsy about material things accomplishes nothing but ill-health. So, stop watching the pot, or else it’ll never boil.