Have you ever felt like quitting at something? I know I sure have. Unfortunately, there have been many times in my life where I have quit at something and there have been many more times in my life where I have been tempted to quit. David Lloyd George said: “There is nothing so fatal to character as half-finished tasks.” Someone famous called Anonymous once said: “We are judged by what we finish, not by what we start.”
Looking back over the last ten years of your life, what do you wish you had not quit? Do you wish you had finished high school, college or graduate school? Do you wish you kept on taking voice lessons, dance lessons, piano lessons or skiing lessons? Do you wish you had stayed with the rather low-level job that nevertheless had a great deal of potential for advancement? Do you wish you had maintained that long-term friendship that dissolved when the going got rough?
Most of us try not to think about our failures any more then we have, and Scripture advises us not to live in the past but occasionally it pays to consider the high cost of quitting. So many people live with scars or lingering wounds from having quit on something or someone. So many look back on their lives, shake their heads and ask, “Why did I cash in so easily?” The answer is obvious: it is infinitely easier to quit than to endure.
It’s easier to go out and play then to practice scales.
It’s easier to watch TV after work than to take night classes at the community college.
It’s easier to walk out of the room during an argument than to stay and work through the conflict.
It’s easier to do what you want to do with your life than to kneel before God, turn the reins over to Him, and wait patiently and expectantly and sometimes even agonizingly for Him to lead you.
We may as well admit it – it’s almost always easier to quit than to endure. But, quitting exacts a high cost, and many of us have paid dearly for giving up so soon. We spend a lot of energy trying to avoid trials, but we actually ought to thank God for them. Adversity helps us develop endurance, and endurance is a powerful weapon to have in our character arsenal.
So how do we learn endurance? We build endurance in our lives by learning how to crash through quitting points in our lives. If you’re a runner, you know what a quitting point is. It happens on the twentieth lap when your sides are splitting, your legs are heavy, your throat is burning and your mind is screaming “Quit! Enough! Don’t go another lap, another half lap, and even another step!” You’re at a physical quitting point.
It happens in a work situation when the pressure is mounting as a deadline draws near. You are dizzy from working as hard as you know how, and suddenly the boss comes in and barks yet another assignment. You think, “That’s it! I can’t stand it one moment longer. I’m going to write out a resignation notice, throw it on his desk, and walk out.” That’s a vocational quitting point.
There are many other kinds of quitting points – moral, educational, emotional, psychological, relational, spiritual. In almost everything we do, we will reach a point where all we can think of is the sweet relief of cashing it in.
If you are at a quitting point right now, count the cost very carefully before throwing in the towel.
Quitting is not glamorous.
It does not develop your character.
In most cases, you will regret it the rest of your life.
When you come to a quitting point in life: draw on God’s strength, crash through it and you will build endurance in your life. Whatever your quitting point, I challenge you to test God’s truth and faithfulness by saying, “God, I am going to proceed, trusting You to empower me to crash through this quitting point and come out in one piece on the other side.”
What has been your experience with quitting? Have you ever quit something and then regretted it later? How have you overcome the urge to quit?