Reasons to Quit
It's funny to me. We imagine (well, I imagine) that we are cleaver and creative. Yet, Solomon wrote long, long ago that there is nothing new under the sun. The things that have been are the things that will be.
When I set down to resume blogging today, I thought about what might be a help to someone out there; someone like you. And, it occurred to me that as many of my acquaintances are going through hard times, it might be helpful to remind ourselves that "quitters never win and winners never quit."
So, I "came up with" the title: Reasons to Quit. Then I immediately googled the title to see if there might be something out there already that addresses this better than I could. Well, no surprise really: Merle Haggard & Willie Nelson recorded a song together by this exact same title, "Reasons to Quit." You can listen to it on YouTube.
Those country legends were singing of reasons to quit smoking and drinking. There are many good reasons to quit those vices. But I want to bark up a different tree after a 'coon of a different sort.
What if instead of contemplating quitting some bad habit, you're thinking of giving up on some good endeavor?
As a pastor I run into this constantly. Some want to quit on their marriage. Others want to quit on life. Billy Bob wants to quit his job. Sally Sue wants to quit serving in the nursery. This one wants to quit pastoring. That one wants to quit the band. A few even want to quit on God completely.
Are there good reasons to quit?
Of course! God once called me into the gospel ministry, and in order to follow that calling, I had to quit my farm job. Then God called me out of Christian education and youth ministry into the pastoral ministry. I had to quit teaching and quit my "job" as a youth pastor in order to accept the calling GBC of Hurlock extended to me to become their pastor. I believe that those exits were divinely ordained and providentially blessed.
When God is through with you in one place, it's foolish to try to hold out and extend the stay beyond the calling. I've seen that happen too. And, I've seen ministries destroyed and people damaged through such stubbornness.
So, do you want to quit?
Let's suppose that God has called you and placed you where you are doing what you are doing. Maybe it's hard? Maybe it's exhausting! Maybe you are just worn out, tired, and tired of being sick and tired. You know the drill.
One thing is for certain, if God placed you (and me) where we are and told us to do what we are doing, we had better be dang certain that He is ready to shut things down before we set out to shut them down ourselves.
Ahithophel quit on David, presumably assuming that it was Absalom's turn. That didn't end well. Both Ahithophel and Absalom ended up hanging (as in, to death).
Mark quit on Paul. At the very least it cost him some time in ministry and brought a schism between Paul and Barnabas that was apparently never resolved in this world.
Judas quit on Jesus and revealed his own apostate heart. Judas traded the Savior for Satan. Bad deal. Judas also ended up dead at the end of a rope and then "went to his place" (Acts 1:25).
Jesus made it clear what His expectations were (and are). He said that if a man puts his hand on the plow and then looks back, he isn't fit to be a disciple. So, Lot's wife is our example of "what not to do." We read elsewhere that the most basic requirement placed on us is that of remaining faithful. In other words, don't quit.
So, what are some reasons to quit?
Well, if you don't care whether God is pleased with you or not - then just quit.
If you don't care whether you children, grandchildren, friends, and loved ones have a good example to follow or not - then quit.
If you are so selfish and self-centered that you think your own happiness is more important than the glory of God - then quit.
If you are willing to admit that you are simply too lazy to finish that good thing that you started - then go ahead, quit.
If you prefer comfort over impact - then quit.
If you feel like you are entitled to be the god of your own life - then quit.
If you are persuaded that Satan's lies are actually truths, then by all means - quit now. Quit today. Quit on God. Quit on others. Quit on yourself.
I didn't say I was giving you GOOD reasons to quit. Just reasons. Or, excuses.
Are there GOOD reasons to quit something good though?
Sometimes we need to quit a good thing in order to do a better thing.
Sometimes we need to quit a good thing so that someone else can grow into their calling.
You may need to quit because you've overextended yourself and said yes to too many things.
You might need to quit because otherwise you would have to compromise some principle that your conscience will not nobly surrender. As the world's culture and philosophy infringes more and more into our lives it does sometimes become necessary to separate ourselves from things that were previously wholesome and good, simply because that tide of pollution can't be held back any longer.
So yes, there is a time to build up. And, there is a time to tear down. But please be sure that you know without a doubt that God is for your cessation before you cease. There are some things that we can quit and then pick back up, seemingly without much loss of momentum (like with John Mark). But there are also things that require and demand such continuity that quitting can disturb or destroy to such a degree that restoration is truly impossible. Manasseh's sins were so great that there was no turning back for Judah. Even Manasseh's repentance and the revival of faith under Manasseh's grandson Josiah could not turn back the justice and fury of God against the evil of Manasseh's pre-conversion infractions. Manasseh was a descendant of King David and the son of good King Hezekiah. But he quit on God early and stayed away so long that irreparable damage was done.
Don't be like that.
My prayer is that God would take my life from me before He would let me quit on Him. I loath the idea that I could become a stumbling block to some other saint, or an excuse offered by an observing sinner.
May we continue with the patience of Job, come what may. May our covenant with God be thus, "Though He slay me, yet I will trust in Him!"
Oh God, help us to finish well. Help me; help us all to be faithful to the end. Help us to endure; to persevere; to overcome. Show us the many reasons NOT to quit. Empower us and motivate us to keep on keepin' on, no matter what! Like the little engine that could, help us to keep on chuggin' until we reach the end of the track. Make us like Saint Paul of old, sweeter to the last drop.
Oh to be an offering, burnt out and used up for the Master. Leaving nothing on the field; striving for the mastery until our reward is realized. Indeed, we will reap, if we faint not.