Issue #35 Don’t Quit Today
At my church, we have a pastoral residency program. Seventeen men are a part of this ministry, but only one of them is full time paid staff. Before this man came on staff, he was a part-time intern at our church. To supplement his income, he worked at a lumber yard in town.
Not long ago, he went through a season where he hated both the internship and the job at the lumber yard. He loves our staff and the work we’re doing, but he wasn’t sure at the time that it would blossom into a full-time job. The lumber yard, on the other hand, was just an unpleasant occupation.
One day, during one of his shifts in the yard, he had a bad interaction with one of his co-workers. Given everything else he was facing, this conflict was enough to push him over the edge. He took a break and called his father. With tears in his eyes, he told his dad that he was done. He wanted to quit. With years of wisdom under his belt, his father spoke three simple, yet powerful, words to his son, “Don’t quit today.”
He took his father’s advice. He didn’t quit. Today, he has a full time job as a pastoral resident, is nearly halfway done with seminary and is on the top of our list to be sent out as a pastor in a church plant. All because he didn’t quit.
His father’s words are good advice for pastors and church leaders. We often get caught up in the emotions of the moment and feel like quitting. I remember one time when I was going through a rough patch in my ministry. An elder came into my office on a Friday afternoon unannounced. His purpose was to tell me how poorly I handled a situation and that I was a bad pastor. I was so upset I wanted to quit. In fact, I called a church nearby who wanted me to be their pastor. I told them I was ready to take the job. I didn’t end up taking it. But I did take the next Sunday off, and I seriously thought about leaving. Thankfully, I didn’t quit because that wouldn’t have been God’s timing or will.
The words of our resident’s father meant so much more than don’t quit today, as if he was only talking about that particular day. His point was one we use in our recovery ministries. Just stay sober for 24 hours. You don’t have to stay sober for the rest of your life. Just stay sober today. The same is true for pastoring. Sometimes we need to hear, don’t quit today. You don’t have to endure this forever. Hang in there one more day.
Days turn into weeks, weeks turn into years, and years turn into a lifetime of faithful service to our Lord. Then one day, we will hear, “Well done good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of your Master.”