I’m sure that all of us at one time or another just want to quit. Maybe its a job, maybe its a relationship, maybe its school, maybe its a project or a game. In ministry, that temptation can come often. My dad used to always say, “In ministry, never quit on Mondays.” It is usually in those times when we are tired, beat down, that the enemy comes with discouragement. The key thing to remember is that God is not a God of discouragement. Realize the source of that discouragement and know that you have a real enemy that wants nothing more than to render you ineffective for God’s Kingdom.
I have been in several seasons where I just wanted to quit and do something else. But no one ever said that ministry would be easy. Or for that matter, no one ever said that your marriage, job, parenting, school, life, would be easy. Sure it would be nice if there was always enough money, if everything went my way, if there was smooth sailing all the time. It would be a blast. But what is that old saying? “Smooth waters do not a skillful sailor make.”
Right now I can think of many churches that are struggling. Finances are tough. People are not committed. Those who claim Christ are not following Him in faithful obedience. The enemy seems to be winning. Well, he may be if we allow discouragement to sideline us.
Last week the high school football team that my son plays for and for whom I am the chaplain, gave me some perspective on this. They were playing a team that was beating them pretty soundly at halftime. They could have come out the second half and given up and just gone through the motions til the clock ran out. But they didn’t. Down 34-7, these guys came out and drove the ball and scored. Then their next possession, they drove down inside the 10 and while they failed to score, they kept fighting. Throughout the remainder of the game, even when they had adversity…turnovers or penalties that brought back touchdowns…they didn’t quit. They could’ve…some individuals may have mentally done so, but overall, I was proud of these guys for playing hard til the last buzzer. They didn’t quit, even when it seemed like they should. No, they didn’t come back and win, but these guys showed me something. Winning in life and eternity isn’t about the score…its about the heart. Galatians 6:9 says…
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.
So do you want to quit today? I’ll be honest, I’ve had those days…even recently. Yet I want to give all I have to the Lord…not my effort, not my works…but my heart. That’s what He desires most. If I give Him all my heart, then all my effort, works, desires, ministry, relationships, money, talents will become His as a grateful outflow of the Holy Spirit filling my heart first. HE will be producing all those things in me.
Church leader, Christian, mom, dad, husband, wife, college student, lay person, youth, give Him your heart first…all of it. Along with it will go all our our desires and self and pride. If the final score on the scoreboard isn’t what you or the world deems a victory, so what? If you gave Him what He wants…YOU…then at the end of the day, you’ll hear “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Don’t quit. Humbly lay your heart before Him and press on! Know that you will reap a great harvest one day!
12Not that I have alread obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. 13Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, 14I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. – Philippians 3:12-14