Wednesday, August 24, 2011

No Permission to Quit

(Read, John 6:58-69) 

66From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.  67Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?  68Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.  69And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God. –John 6:66-69 (KJV) 

As I was reading this passage I reflected on a time when my ministry was not going well.  The church where I was serving was facing intense internal conflict.  Factions within the church were warring with each other, tensions were high, and business meetings had become heated and nearly unbearable.  I had become so discouraged I was seriously considering finding another church and tendering my resignation.  Should another church not come available I was considering other options such as secular employment. 

Over lunch one day I confided in an older, wiser, and trusted pastor friend my feelings.  Somewhere in the back of my mind I was thinking he might say something like, “Dan, you have done all you can in this church.  In fact, if you were to resign or even quit the ministry for a while the Lord would surely understand.” However, my friend would not allow the subject of resignation to be discussed.  Instead, he looked at me from across the table and said gently but firmly, “Dan, God has called you to this church.  You must trust Him to lead you through this storm.  Someone has to lead them – that someone is you!”  He flatly refused to give me permission to quit. 

I confess I did not want to hear this, yet I knew my friend was right and the Lord was speaking to me through him.  Like the disciples who were contemplating leaving Jesus, where would I go?  The Lord had called me to preach, and this was where I would remain.  I am glad to report I did not resign, but instead stayed on two more years until the Lord opened another door of ministry.  During the two year period the church experienced a wonderful healing process. 

What are you facing today which is causing you to entertain thoughts of quitting?  Is it a troubled relationship, a job which isn’t going well, or a church which is going through a storm of strife and disunity?  Perhaps you are contemplating abandoning your faith in Christ altogether.  Consider the words of the disciples; “Lord, to whom shall we go?  Thou hast the words of eternal life.”   

If God has called you then He will empower you to remain in His will and calling.  Trust the Lord, look to Him, and keep going forward in faith.  Stand firm and do not quit. 

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