Thursday, November 30, 2017

Be Like a Postage Stamp

Last week we ordered the stamps for our annual Christmas letter. There were many beautiful options to choose from, but I love the ones depicting the Holy Family. The last few years I've chosen the silhouette against a starry sky.

But what makes a postage stamp so useful?

Its ability to stick to one thing until it gets to where it's going!

Remember Thomas Edison? Without his inventions, we would have no beautiful Christmas lights to decorate our houses and trees.

What does Edison have to do with postage stamps?

Edison was a man with a dream. An inveterate inventor, he made things we still use today, but his biggest dream was to make an incandescent lightbulb. He struggled for many months, making hundreds of unsuccessful attempts and spending more than $40,000 of his own money in a time when the dollar was worth much more than it is today.

Discouragement and the temptation to give up threatened to rob him of his dream, but he stuck with it and was successful at last. His incandescent bulb worked for 40 hours. From that point on, lighting in houses and businesses revolutionized our way of life.

Edison's determination to stick to his task until it was complete made the difference between success and failure. And that's what he and a postage stamp have in common! Stick-to-it-tive-ness.

As I wrote the four books I have now published, I was tempted many times to quit. The task seemed impossible. Then I came across Raymond Obstfeld's quote:

"The main difference between successful writers and 

wannabe writers is not talent--it's perseverance."

Perseverance and determination are just as important in our spiritual lives. Every Christian faces times of discouragement and defeat when Satan whispers, "Give up! It's no use. You're a failure." But the Bible says,

In other words, STICK IT OUT!

Some years ago I came across this poem from an unknown author:


When things go wrong, as they sometimes will, 
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low, and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must--but don't you quit!

Life is erratic with its twists and turns,
As everyone of us sometimes learns;
And many a failure turns about,
For you might have won had you stuck it out;
Don't give up, though the pace seems slow--
You might succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than 
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up
When he learned too late, when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out--
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt--
And you never can tell how close you are;
It may be near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit;
It's when things seem worst that you mustn't quit!

Never give up! Who knows but that the very next attempt may be successful. When I'm tempted to give up before a task is completed, I remember the postage stamp, and Thomas Edison and his lightbulb. How tragic it would be to stop just short of reaching the goal!

Looking for an inspirational Christmas gift?

Check out my Alaskan Waters Trilogy completed just this year at

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