It's Not How You Start but How You Finish

Jose Luis Navajo shares a pastor's deep spiritual insight of faith by observing nature.

Excerpted from Mondays with My Old Pastor: Sometimes, All We Need Is a Reminder from Someone Who has Walked before Us. Thomas Nelson ©2012. Used by permission of Thomas Nelson, Inc. www.thomasnelson.com.
 

Faithfulness is shown by staying put. The trees whose wood
is most sought after grow on the most rugged slopes of the
mountain.

The cross seems heavy at times, doesn’t it?”

In asking him the question, I knew I was standing in
front of a man who carried his cross with admirable faithfulness.

“Perseverance is fundamental,” he clarified. “ ‘Deny yourself,’
Jesus said, ‘and take up your cross every day.’ There are ‘spring’
Christians who disappear in the winter. They’re like the birds
that constantly migrate in search of warmer climate. An authentic
Christian is characterized by faithfulness. Have you heard of
Francis Nichol?”

“Never,” I confessed.

“I don’t know much about him either, except a phrase that is
attributed to him, and a while back it left me pensive: ‘When you
finally fully understand the root of the word success, you discover
that it means ‘keep going forward.’ ” I think the picture it’s trying
to paint is one of a tree that endures bad weather, but it remains
there, where it was planted.”

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“At times,” I risked saying, “the wind can blow so hard that it
threatens to uproot us.”

“Far from it,” he countered determinedly. “The storm serves
to strengthen us. Did you know that logging companies not only
have people who cut down trees but also people who specialize in
reforestation? They know where to plant a tree so its wood has
a better quality. When they go out to reforest a mountain, they
scan over its slopes until they find what they call stress factors.”

“Stress factors?”

“Yes, the stress factors are the areas on the mountain more
exposed to winds and storms. Right there, where the stress factors
are the most obvious, is where they plant the trees. From
day one these little trees understand the cruelty of winter and
the rigors of the summer. When strong storms come along, they
know that their only option to survive is to sink down their roots
deeper. And in times of extreme drought, they sink those roots
even farther down to find subterranean springs. During this difficult
process their trunks get harder. Of course not all survive,
but those that do will have better wood . . . the most desired and
sought after.”

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Jose Luis Navajo
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