– by Nico Bougas
One of the largest organisations in the world is the Quitter’s Club. The reason you’ve never heard of the Quitter’s Club is because they never meet – the members quit coming. There are no dues – the members quit paying them. The Quitter’s Club is comprised of people who faced a tough job, a tough marriage, a tough sickness, or a tough failure – and they quit. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. But the going gets tough, the quitters get going…away. What we need in this world and in the church are people who will exhibit good, old-fashioned grit and doggedness.
There have been many wonderfully talented people who have never risen above the level of mediocrity simply because they had quit and given up on their dreams
Years ago a certain Mr. Darby, a wealthy insurance broker, was caught up with gold fever and headed out to Colorado. He did some prospecting and discovered a very rich vein of gold in the Rockies. He returned to his home on the East Coast and convinced all his friends to invest their money in a mining venture. They formed a corporation, bought a great deal of equipment, and mined this very wealthy vein of gold ore in Colorado.
About the time that corporation paid off all its debts, the vein of gold ran out. The investors kept digging until they ran themselves into debt again. Finally, one day, a discouraged Mr. Darby ordered an end to the excavation. He closed the mine, went into Denver, and sold the mine and equipment to a junk dealer for a few hundred dollars. Mr. Darby headed home.
The junk dealer hired a geologist to study the mine and the area. The geologist came back with a report: “If you dig three feet past the point where Mr. Darby quit, you’ll find the same vein of gold.” The junk dealer became the wealthiest mine owner in the state of Colorado. Just three more feet! I wonder how many times we too, stop three feet short of victory?
Norman Vincent Peale popularised the concept of positive thinking and one of his famous quotes was, “It’s always too soon to quit.” Paul had the same idea when he wrote, “And let us not grow weary in doing good for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart.” – Gal 6:9. Whenever we are tempted to do less than our best, or perhaps to quit completely, we ought to remember this verse and the truth it contains. Here Paul talks about a privilege, a peril, and a promise.
The privilege of doing good
Paul speaks about a privilege – “doing good”. That is what the Christian life and service is all about. “Let your life so shine amongst men that they might see your good works and glorify your Father who is in Heaven.” – Matt 5:16. We Christians are not only believers, we are behavers. We do the Will of God, and the work of God, for the glory of God.
In 1953 reporters gathered at a Chicago railway station waiting to meet the 1952 Nobel Peace Prize winner. He was a big man, well over six feet tall, with bushy hair and a large moustache.
Reporters were excited to see him and expressed what an honour it was to meet him. Cameras were flashing, compliments were being expressed when, looking beyond the adulation, the visitor saw an elderly black woman struggling to carry her two large suitcases.
“Excuse me,” he said as he went to the aid of this woman. Picking up her cases, he escorted her to a bus and then apologised to the reporters for keeping them waiting.
The man was Dr. Albert Schweitzer, the famous missionary-doctor who had invested his life helping poor and sick people in Africa.
A member of the reception committee remarked to one of the reporters, “That’s the first time I ever saw a sermon walking.” The measure of any man or woman is not their name, not their fame, not what they say, but what they do.
Jesus Himself “went about doing good.” –Acts 10:38. When you and I are involved in doing good works we are following in the steps of the master. James urges us to “be doers of the word and not just hearers only.” –James 1:22. Although we are certainly not saved by doing good works, we do prove the reality of our salvation by investing our lives in good works.
Sometimes believers, especially people holding an office in the church, are prone to look at service as a burden or a chore. Christian ministry is not easy, it demands energy and time and toil. We must realise that ministry is a privilege. Otherwise we will start to get bitter and critical and then our work will lose God’s blessing. No matter how much sacrifice God calls us to make, we must remember that serving Jesus in any capacity is a wonderful privilege.
The peril of growing weary
Paul also speaks about a peril. This is the peril of growing weary in serving the Lord. It has often been said that although we may grow weary in doing God’s work, we must never grow weary of doing God’s work. When that happens we cease to be God’s joyful servants. We then become menials who are miserable in what we do and help to make others just as miserable. We mimic the priests whom Malachi warned – men who did not give God their best and said of their service, “Oh what a weariness.” – Mal 1:13.
The kind of weariness that Paul is talking about has nothing to do with a tired body. It is a weariness of the mind and heart. It is a loss of excitement and challenge, which produces a ministry that is dull, full of lifeless routine, and is ineffective. We stop planning ahead and are merely content to monitor “business as usual.” We have no joy in the service, and we stop making sacrifices. Before long, we start to get critical and resentful. We become like the elder brother in our Lord’s parable (Luke 15.23-32). We can be busy in the field and even faithful to the Father, but still be a drudge who finds no joy in the ministry.
We used to sing a little chorus, “There is joy in serving Jesus”. But if we have lost that joy, sparkle, and motivation then we need to take a little diagnostic test to check out the problem and the reason for us growing “weary in well doing.” If you asked Nehemiah the secret of his motivation for serving the Lord and rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, he would quickly acknowledge that, the joy of the Lord was his strength. (Nehemiah 4.10)
The Apostle John could not get over the fact that God had chosen him to be one of His children, “See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God.” – 1 John 3:1. We need to keep basking in the sunshine of His love and the wonder that we are called to be His disciples and His servants.
If you keep reminding yourself that it is a privilege to serve the Lord, you are not likely to grow weary in well doing. Say to yourself, “to think that God has chosen me to be His servant!” And don’t lose the marvel of it all.
The promise of a reward.
Finally, Paul speaks of a reward, “for in due season we shall reap if we faint not.” – Gal 6:10. The image here is of a farm, and if there is one worker who knows what it means to stay on the job, it is the farmer. He must prepare the soil, sow the seed, pull the weeds, water the plants, and wait patiently for the harvest.
The farmer has no guaranteed harvest, but the Christian worker is promised a harvest, “in due season”. There are seasons to the Lord’s work – times of ploughing and planting. There are times of watering and cultivating, and times of reaping. The wise worker must know what season it is and work accordingly. “When we work together with the Lord, He is the one who gives the increase” – Cor 3:5-9.
The “due season” is not always at the end of the meeting or even at the end of the church year. Jesus told us, “The harvest is at the end of the age.” – Matt 13:39. We may not see the results of our labours today, or even next year. But we will see them when we stand before the Lord. Like the farmer, we must sow and water by faith, trusting the Lord to cause growth in His time.
Yes, it is always too soon to quit. We must be on guard and watch lest we start to grow weary while doing good. If we keep in mind the privilege of serving Christ and believe His promise of the harvest, we will be able to guard against the peril of weariness, and to “Keep on keeping on” until He returns.
A survey published by a national retail sales organisation revealed that 48% of salesmen in the United States quit after their first visit. While 25% made three visits, and then they gave up! The remaining 12% kept on calling and they did 80% of the total business.
God’s business is even more important. So it is always too soon to quit.