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Hanging On for the Eight Year

One of the most remarkable plants in nature is the ibervillea sonorae. It can exist for seemingly indefinite periods without soil or even water. As Annie Dillard tells the story, one was kept in a display case in the New York Botanical Garden for seven years without soil or water. For seven springs it sent out little anticipatory shoots looking for water. Finding none, it simply dried up again, hoping for better luck next year.

Now, that's what I call being motivated: hanging on, keeping on when it's not easy.

But motivation can run out, even for the ibervillea sonorae. In the eighth year of no soil and water, the rather sadistic folks at the New York Botanical Garden had a dead plant on their hands.

Most pastors know what it's like to find themselves past their seventh season, bereft of soil, thirsty, and waiting for the eighth spring. No more motivation; barely enough energy to send out another anticipatory shoot. With most of us, however, it happens seven or eight times each year. Would ...

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