Friday, September 17, 2010

Axioms, Adages, and Proverbs (1): The Stonecutter

"When nothing seems to help, I go look at a stone-cutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without so much as a crack showing in it.  Yet at the hundred and first blow, it will split in two, and I know it was not that blow that did it, but all that had gone before." - Jacob A Riis

I am starting a new series of blog posts which I'll call "Axioms, Adages and Proverbs," or, from now on, AAP's.  I love to collect these things, these AAP's, which often contain in them great truths and help to keep me on track, especially when times are hard.  I'm leading off with one of my favorite's, above.  Now lest you think I'm getting away from the spiritual component, hang with me on this journey.  Take the above quote - in a word, this is all about perseverance.

"
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." (James 1:2-4).

Perseverance is a trait that we all should seek...in fact, more than that, it's a trait that God is going to build into us.  Perseverance and Trust go hand in hand.  Remember the story Jesus told in Luke 18 about the unjust judge (read it here)?  
It wasn't because the judge wanted to do right that he gave a widow justice; it was because she was wearing him out by constantly coming to him with her case.  Her perseverance won the day.  The point Jesus was making was simply to never, ever stop praying.  Perseverance.  

Jim Collins
, business consultant, author and lecturer, has spent a lifetime studying success, mainly in the world of business.  In his book "Good to Great" he talks about what he calls "Level-5 leaders."  These leaders come in all shapes and sizes and are not the charismatic types we tend to think of as CEO's.  However, with all their differences they had 2 things in common, Humility, and Will.  Think of "will" as "strength of character," the "never give up" attitude, or in a word, perseverance.

Back to the stone-cutter - what if he had stopped at 100 blows, and given up?  The rock never would have split.  This leads me to another AAP;

"Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up." - Thomas Edison

Makes me wonder; what prayer have I stopped praying that God still wants to answer?  What has He called me to, that I have stopped persevering in?  What break-through is right around the corner, as long as I don't give up?  Persevering is not easy...you never know whether you're at the beginning, middle, or end of the journey...whether the break-through has many more blows to go, or whether the next blow will split the stone, and I suppose this is why splitting stone with a hammer is not the type of work for all of us.  Still...I wonder?  How close are you to that break-through?  Have you given up?  It might be time to pick up the hammer and chisel again.

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