Pecking Away

by | Jun 3, 1999 | Perseverance, Persistence

Do you know when to give up and when to keep trying? Former University of Alabama president, Frank Rose, used to tell a favorite story about a time, in the mid-1960s, when evangelist Billy Graham was invited to speak at an event in the university’s football stadium. There were 18,000 people in attendance that evening. America’s civil rights movement was well underway and the stadium crowd represented one of the largest racially integrated meetings ever held in the state.

As Rev. Graham was giving a message about easing racial tensions, a huge thunderstorm gathered overhead. Suddenly, lightening struck and a ball of fire seemed to emanate from the speaker’s microphone and travel down the wire.

Graham immediately sat down. Then he leaned over and spoke to Alabama’s legendary football coach, Bear Bryant. “Coach,” he said, “you’d have stopped, too, if that lightnin’ had hit you like that.”

Bear said, “No sir!”

“What do you mean?” Asked Graham.

“Well,” he said, “if I was down on the one-yard line, I wouldn’t have stopped until I scored.”

At that, Rev. Graham returned to the microphone and finished his talk.

Safety considerations aside, the story reminds us of one of life’s important lessons. In most of what we do, there is a time to stop, but there is also a time to score; a time to pack it in, but also a time to complete the task. The woodpecker owes its success to the fact that it uses its head and keeps pecking away until it finishes the job!

Today, will you quit? Or will you keep pecking away?

From Steve Goodier’s book “Riches of the Heart”

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Pecking Away