I was driving this morning and took a call on my cell phone. It was a bi-vocational pastor calling to let me know he wrote his resignation letter last night after church.
I said, “Quit? You’ve got to be kidding!” Then I began to recite back to him all the good things God has been doing in the church. One bad day shouldn’t be enough. . . .
I know being a pastor is sometimes personally painful, discouraging and costly. In my years as a pastor I wrote (and then tore up) many resignation letters! The thoughtless and downright mean, personal attacks on my family were the worst times.
I remember calling a friend during one particularly discouraging time. He said, “Now is not the time to quit! In fact, it’s always too soon to quit.” I shared those words with the pastor who called this morning and I reminded him that even though he didn’t think it would make any difference to others if he quit, it would have a huge impact on him.
Maybe you’ve heard this statement, “If you quit now, quitting next time will be easier. When things grow stale, when you’ve run out of energy and inspiration, that is the time to buckle down, dig in and finish.”
Richard Halverson once wrote, “The acid test of a man’s worthwhileness is his response to the uninspired moments – how he reacts to duty and drudgery. The one who depends on inspired moments rarely finishes anything. He leaves a trail of half-baked tasks behind – muted evidence of adolescent self-indulgence.”
Those who are spiritually mature refuse to quit; refuse to throw in the towel. Don’t misunderstand, thinking about quitting, even wanting to quit, happens a lot. And maybe its good therapy to write that resignation letter. Just run it through the shredder instead of mailing it!
After all, football games have been won in the last few seconds by the losing team who refused to quit. Destructive behavior patterns have been replaced with positive habits in people who don’t quit. As pastors our reactions to difficulties impact a great number of people. They’re watching us.
Our supreme example is Jesus Christ. He was obedient all the way to the cross. He finished the work God gave Him to do.
But you, O God, are both tender and kind, not easily angered, immense in love, and you never, never quit. Psalm 86:15 – (THE MESSAGE)
God gives a hand to those down on their luck, gives a fresh start to those ready to quit. Psalm 145:14 – (THE MESSAGE)