It is wise to know the secret of one step. One step is a small step. One step is a frail step. However, a pilgrim knows the importance of one step. A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. When Abraham received God’s calling of pilgrimage, he took a step. The book of Hebrews records that Abraham went out, not knowing where he was going (Heb. 11:8). He didn’t know where he was going, but regardless he took a step forward. In that step, the history of salvation had begun. It became a step that shone the light of the Gospel to the history of humanity.
The land that God led Abraham was the land of Canaan. However, at the time the land of Canaan was a foreign land to Abraham. The distance from Ur of the Chaldeans, his homeland, to the land of Canaan was very far. It was a far distance, but he entered into the land of Canaan by taking one step at a time as he was guided by God. ‘Thus’ is one of the words that touches my heart when I read Genesis 12. “… thus, they came to the land of Canaan” (Gen. 12:5). The first step Abraham took ‘thus’ led him into the land of Canaan.
Just as we experience, life is not easy to deal with. It is not easy to complete what has been started. It is not easy to reach the destination in a journey. It is absolutely not an easy thing to complete the book you have begun writing. It is also not an easy thing to complete a house that you have begun to build. There is no easy task in the world. But don’t let that discourage you. We have been living this hard life well. We have accomplished many difficult tasks, and we will continue to do so. It’s just that we have learned the wisdom of life, the importance of taking one step at a time silently and faithfully.
There are some books that I remember and recall whenever I’m going through a difficult time. One of them is the book called Keep Going by Joseph Marshall III. It is a book about wisdom from the Native Americans. The focus of the book is ‘one step.’ The Native Americans teach their children that being strong is not about having a lot of strength but about being able to take one more step no matter how weary they may be.
“Being strong means taking one more step toward the top of the hill, no matter how weary you may be.” (Joseph Marshall, Keep Going, 68)
“Being strong means taking one more step toward the top of the hill, no matter how weary you may be. It means letting the tears flow through the grief. It means to keep looking for the answer, though the darkness of despair is all around you. Being strong means to cling to hope for one more heartbeat, one more sunrise. Each step, no matter how difficult, is one more step closer to the top of the hill. To keep hope alive for one more heartbeat at a time leads to the light of the next sunrise, and the promise of a new day.” (Ibid., 125)
“The weakest step towards the top of the hill, toward sunrise, toward hope, is stronger than the fiercest storm.” (Ibid., 125)
I have learned the value and the strength of little things through various experiences. I know that the accumulation of small successes leads to great success and the accumulation of small accomplishments leads to great accomplishment. Continual small drops of water penetrate a rock. Sometimes, being weak is more beneficial than being too strong. Being strong brings in attack but being weak attracts help. The hard and stiff can be broken, but the soft and flexible will prevail.
Rather than being tired and giving up while going fast, it is more important to go a long way while moving slowly. When I am doing God’s work, I try not to be hasty. When you are hasty, trash is formed. However, when you are patient, a masterpiece is made. We are in the middle of building a sanctuary. Building a sanctuary is definitely not an easy task. However, if we take one step at a time, we will see the completion of the sanctuary before we know it. We can’t be too slow or too hasty. It is important to move forward one step at a time only according to God’s guidance. Thank you for your patience, love, and encouragement.
Reverend Joshua Choon-Min Kang is the senior pastor of New Life Vision Church, located in Los Angeles. This is one of the weekly letters he writes to his congregation. For the original, visit www.nlvc.org.