"That's It -- I Quit!"

“That’s it, I quit! 

I’m not doing this anymore. No one appreciates me. It’s too hard. I pour my heart and soul into this, and all I get are complaints. Let someone else do it. See if they can do better.” 

Be honest. Even if you haven’t said these words aloud, you’ve thought them. Maybe even today.

If you’ve served in ministry in any capacity, even if it’s (only) within your own family, you’ve probably reached a point where you felt unappreciated, unsuccessful, or unwanted. You work long hours for little or no pay, deal kindly and patiently with difficult people, and produce something wonderful with a minimum of resources. And all you get in return, it seems, is conflict, criticism, and more impossible tasks. 

And so you’re tempted to quit. 

There’s just one problem. It’s fairly easy to quit a job. It’s virtually impossible to quit a calling. 

The apostle Peter tried. He’d followed Jesus with all his heart. Believed his words, embraced his ministry, and left all to follow him. And then things got challenging. Those glorious days of traversing the countryside listening to great sermons and witnessing sensational miracles came to an end. Something went terribly wrong. 

And Peter bailed. 

Turned his back. Threw in the towel. Took a hike. Went back to what was safe and comfortable. Back to what he could do without thought, prayer, or preparation. 

He went fishing. 

I’m sure he thought if he could just go secular, all his problems would be over. “If I could just go back to my job in the real world, I wouldn’t have these problems. People would appreciate me. They’d pay me well for my work. I’d understand what’s expected of me, and I could clock out at the end of the day and leave it all behind.” 

“I’m going fishing.”

I did this recently. (In my mind.) I hit a rough spot in ministry, and all of a sudden my day job looked awfully appealing. For almost a week, I wandered around in a major funk. Words of criticism played themselves over and over in my subconscious like a CD with a skip. The enemy whispered suggestions that my life would be easier, happier, and more fulfilled if I bailed. 

Like Peter dragging out his old fishing boat, I mentally climbed back into my non-ministry world and went fishing. 

But “they fished all night and caught nothing.” 

This is what we catch if we turn our backs on ministry and go fishing – nothing. 

No one is challenged, encouraged, or equipped. No one learns from our example or benefits from our prayers. The Body of Christ suffers because we checked out. 

“Peter, do you love me?” 

“Lord, you know I love you.”  

“Then feed my sheep.” 

When we contemplate quitting, we should ponder Francis Chan’s wise words: “Your greatest fear should not be fear of failure, but of succeeding at things in life that don’t really matter.” 

Ministry is hard, whether we’re ministering to our own family or to a church of thousands. But if we know Christ as our Savior, ministry’s not an option. It’s a privilege. And what we do for Christ is the only thing that matters in eternity. 

“Lord, you know I love you.”  

“Then feed my sheep.” 

Have you ever contemplated quitting? 

How did the Lord speak to you? Leave a comment below and join the conversation. I’d love to hear your story. If you’re reading by email, click here to leave a comment. 

This devotion is an excerpt from Lori’s new book, Hungry for God … Starving for Time, 5-Minute Devotions for Busy Women.

You want to connect with God, but in the craziness of life, it’s just not happening. You want practical, biblical answers to situations you face every day, but you don’t have hours to pore over Scripture.

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• Is my situation hopeless?
• If God already knows what he’s going to do, why bother to pray? 
• Why have you allowed this to happen to me? 
• No one appreciates what I do. Why shouldn’t I quit? 

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  1. Lori, this is beautiful and exactly what we were talking about in my women's Sunday School class today.

    About how sometimes Christians will want to step down from ministry when they're going through a rough time, and this is exactly when they need to put feet to their faith and stay IN ministry and watch God work! Sometimes they feel like a hypocrite because they're struggling, but we all struggle from time to time and God is faithful!

    Of course, there are times when God's calling you to step aside or onto something else, but that's different.

    I loved what you said here: "It’s fairly easy to quit a job. It’s virtually impossible to quit a calling. " Awesome!!!!!!

    Also wanted you to know that "Making Your Home Sing Monday" linky part is up and ready for your posts!

  2. lorihatcher8:57 PM

    Nan, Just like your post today, it's about having enough faith and trust to stay true to what God has called us to do, even when we don't FEEL like it or WANT to so it. It makes me think of the quote (can't track down the source) that says, "You haven't truly served until someone else gets the credit and God gets the glory." May we all continue to serve in faith, knowing that our true reward is not here on earth. . .

  3. Amen!!!! I have never heard that quote before but it's so true, lol!"
    Thanks so much for linking up to "Making Your Home Sing Monday" linky party today! :)

  4. Pamela Kuhn8:33 AM

    Big difference between a joy and a calling. Love your emphasis on feeding God's sheep. As writers, that's what we hope to do--be an arm of God by feeding His people.

  5. OH! Perfectly timed post , my friend. I will ponder further. Too much on my plate at the moment. Pray for me will you. SOmething needs to give. Or be released. Discernment needed. And swift answers. Great quote. Perfect post for me today!

  6. Anonymous8:55 PM
    and are both posts I've written on this same topic.

    Love what I've read so far on your blog - I'll be following you that's for sure.

    God bless