Jose Navajo had just celebrated his forty-sixth birthday. As he put the birthday cake leftovers away, he knew he was experiencing something more than mere tiredness. “Deep in some uncertain part of my soul persisted a strange exhaustion that was difficult to explain and hard to endure.” (xi) An evangelical pastor, he heard his doctor's diagnosis: burnout. In the midst of his enduring the tunnel of discouragement, his wife suggested he visit his old pastor.
Thus began regular visits with the pastor of his youth, a seasoned eighty-three years old man who had been in ministry at the same church for fifty-five years.
Many Mondays the wise pastor told a story with a life changing message. There was profound wisdom to be gleaned from these stories. As the weeks went by, Jose could tell his old pastor was declining. He was losing the battle to cancer. Even as he grew weaker, he continued to encourage Jose with stories from his own experiences, from literature, and from legends.
The stories and the wisdom are inspiring. Some of the lessons Jose learned include, “Self-sufficiency is a highly sought after quality on earth, but it's a real hindrance in the things of the kingdom.” (22) “Nothing,” the old pastor tells Jose, “absolutely nothing is as important as taking time to be with God.” (34) “You have two options: serve the Lord or work in the church. They are not the same... Don't work for God, work with God.” (44) “Love those who least deserve it more, because they are the ones who need it most.” (60)
This book thought provoking wisdom that will challenge every Christian. Those in ministry needing inspiration to continue on will find treasure in this book. Each chapter is a simple lesson on deepening one's walk with Jesus. Yet the wisdom shared is profound.
The book is well written in a style of fictional prose that compels one to continue. While some of the stories are fables and legends, each one illustrates a thought provoking truth.
And the final lesson, even after the old pastor had gone to be with the Lord, was, “Everything is by grace.”
Jose Luis Navajo is part of the pastoral team of the Salem Evangelical Church in Madrid, Spain. While the pastoral ministry is his calling and vision, he loves literature and is the author of several books. He and his wife have two daughters.
Thomas Nelson Publishers, 207 pages.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.