YOU CAN’T QUIT
There is another point to all of this about getting your edge and keeping it, and that is: You cannot quit. The great theologian Kenny Rogers said, “You’ve gotta know when to hold ‘em, and know when to fold ‘em.” You have to know that sometimes you’ve got to quit some things, but in the big picture you cannot quit.
Some of you are still pastoring or leading a department in your church. You’re still in the grind, but you’ve already quit. You know in your heart that you’ve quit. You’ve lost your dream and people know it, too. People can tell when you have a dream, and they can tell when you’ve lost your dream. You’ve buried it for one reason or another.
In Matthew 25 Jesus tells a parable about talents. The master gave one servant five talents, another one two, and another one he gave just one. When he returned, the one who he gave five had doubled it, and so had the one who he gave two. But the one he gave one talent to just buried it. The master took that one from him, wiped the dirt off of it and gave it to someone else. That was a quit. He was still in the game, but he had quit. So his talent was taken from him and given to someone who was still doing what he was called to do.
Just because you show up for work doesn’t mean you haven’t quit.
Fifty percent of all marriages end in divorce. Did you ever wonder what the statistic would be of how many are divorced but still live together? How many have given up on their marriage but are still living “married”?
One thousand seven hundred pastors are quitting every month. I believe God is saying to us today, “Don’t quit. Stay in there.” My grandmother used to tell us the same thing but she put it like this, “Hang in there like a hair in a biscuit.” It’s gross, but that’s a great picture of what we need to do when we feel like quitting.
It’s nothing new to be someone who wants to quit. The Bible is full of examples of it. Jonah quit; he ran in the opposite direction, but he ended up coming back. Noah was drunk for a while. Abraham was way too old to have kids. God told him when he was a hundred years old he was going to be a father. “Who’s the mom going to be?” Abraham asked. God told him Sarah would be the mom, but according to one translation of the Bible, it says she was “as good as dead.” Abraham had already quit. Jacob was a liar. Gideon was afraid. Moses was a murderer, Rahab was a prostitute. Samson liked prostitutes. David was an adulterer who tried to cover it up with murder. Elijah was suicidal and bipolar. Isaiah preached naked for three years. John the Baptist ate bugs. Jeremiah was emotional – he probably wore extra tight skinny jeans and a scarf and took bubble baths and listened to Michael Buble. You know he did. Peter denied even knowing Jesus. Zaccheus was too small. Paul was too religious. Thomas was too negative. Timothy had too many stomach ulcers. And Lazarus… the guy was dead, but he didn’t quit.
I considered writing here all the reasons that I wanted to quit, but I think you probably could write that message just as well. The point is, we cannot quit. This message is too vital and our mission too crucial for us to quit. Whatever the challenges are, they are worth overcoming for the sake of giving people the chance to know our Savior. You need to know what to quit, and don’t let fear or pride stop you from quitting those things. And you need to know what you cannot quit, and don’t let anything convince you otherwise.
October 18 2014