In the heat of conflict or the depths of despair, we can easily conjure up reasons to quit in the ministry. These thoughts and temptations have been used by the devil over and over throughout history. Moses, Elijah, Jonah, Peter, John Mark, and others have faced the desire to quit. When tempted with a host of reasons to quit, we need to stop and weigh the reasons to not quit.
1. The Glory of God
Our sole purpose of existence is to glorify God (Rev. 4:11). We were created by Him and for Him (Col. 1:16). Quitting never results in God’s glory. His grace and mercy are not displayed in our lives when we quit. God is glorified when we live a life of faith and yielding to His will. Meditate on Who our God is and why He is worthy of all glory. A desire to quit is due to a focus on self rather than our great God and Savior.
2. The Judgment Seat of Christ
A real day is coming in which every believer will stand before our Lord Jesus Christ to give an account of what we have done with the life we received in Christ (Rom. 14:10-12; II Cor. 5:10). It is at this judgment that believers have the possibility to joyfully hear “well done, thou good and faithful servant.” Faithful and quitting are opposites. If we hear that we have been faithful, then we have not quit. If we have quit, we will not be commended as faithful. Despite what some may think, the lack or loss of reward at the Judgment Seat will not feel like a mere slap on the wrist but will be utter regret and shame before our Savior.
3. The Calling of God
What kept Jeremiah from giving up when he persecuted, imprisoned, and lamented over the destruction of Jerusalem? His calling of God. What kept Paul from quitting after he was beaten, stoned, lied about, and imprisoned? His calling of God. Did God call you to the Gospel ministry? Then press on! If He has called you to this, He will provide you with the grace to continue.
4. The Eternality of Souls
As a pastor or missionary, the effects of quitting go far beyond the temporary and into the eternal. When tempted to quit, do not forget the ears and hearts of those who will not hear the soul-saving Gospel message from your life and mouth. “How shall they hear without a preacher?” (Rom. 10:14) Those waiting to hear the good news of reconciliation with God need you to press on and not quit.
5. The Future Blessings
The Bible is clear that “we will reap, if we faint not.” Many times the greatest reward comes shortly after the greatest trial. While our eternal rewards await us after the resurrection, God gives blessings and rewards during our tenure on earth. When we quit, we forfeit those future blessings. In a moment of impatience and unfaithfulness, Moses forfeited his blessing of entering the Promise Land. The joy of seeing another soul saved or family salvaged or church started can only come if we press on. Anyone who has quit can readily express the horrible regret of forfeiting what could have been.
6. The Sufficiency of God’s Grace
Under the weight of difficulty and seemingly unanswered prayer, the Apostle Paul received direct encouragement from his Saviour. “My grace is sufficient for thee.” Today, God’s grace has not changed. It is still sufficient for you. While there are many who can testify of the consequences of having quit, others can humbly declare the joy of persisting in God’s grace through the desire to quit. Know that you are not alone in this temptation. “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (I Cor. 10:13). “But I cannot take this any more!” Satan will tempt us with “yea, hath God said?” Do not doubt the sufficiency of God’s grace. Our own strength is not enough, but God’s grace is.
If the towel is in your hand, ready to be thrown in, may you find the courage, strength, and encouragement in these reasons not to quit. Others have been where you are at and more will yet stand at the same crossroads. You are not alone. Confide in a fellow servant of Christ. Seek God’s face alone in His Word and prayer to be like David who “encouraged himself in the LORD his God.” Remember, “faithful is he who calleth you, who also will do it.”