It has been a rough few years at Fairview Baptist Church, I must say. As the pastor for the last 11 years, much has been accomplished in the name of Christ, both at home and abroad. Missionaries have been supported, souls have been won to Christ, the church grew, lives (by testimony) had changed and etc. Contrary to these great and wonderful things, however much has also been accomplished by the enemy. In the same manner the Lord has worked in willing lives, so has the devil worked in willing lives. Nothing has ever torn a church apart from the outside, but rather it’s what happens on the inside that is so damaging. When the enemy is allowed to roam unhindered, he will steal, kill and destroy. Many are always looking at the flesh and who is to blame, just as it was in the garden with Adam, Eve and the serpent. The blame games always gets out of hand, but God found that “ALL” parties were to blame, so is the case in every instance, even today.
When we go through traumatic events in church, it seems to affect people different than in other areas of life. Some claim their church is their family, yet forsake it rather quickly. Many forget the principles of Christianity and the teachings of Christ when it comes to how they should act, as well as react. We forget how powerful an assumption is or a rumor cast into the air can be. We negate the call of Christ upon us as we slip into self preservation mode and forget being like Christ means suffering & sacrifice. This has provoked the thought this evening of, “When is it time to quit?”
I have preached now for over 20 years and have said many times on any given Sunday that we have no cause to quit, because Jesus never quit on us. The response is always a resounding and hearty, “Amen!” That being said, the response of many over the years, from different churches, has been, “I’m done” or “I’ve had enough” or “It just isn’t worth it.” Songs, such as, “It’ll Be Worth Every Mile,” have been sung and cheered to from the congregations I have sat in. Testimonies have been spoken to say, “This is my home,” or “We ain’t going anywhere preacher,” have been spoken in public, as well as in private. My question to you, the reader, is, “When is it time to quit?”
Some say, “God is leading me away,” but to where, I always wonder. You find out later they’re not attending anywhere else or attending in an unbiblical assembly. May I say this is NOT God’s leading. Some say, “I just can’t do this anymore,” but what if Christ had this mindset? Where would any of us be? My trouble has always been hearing such professions of faith and faithfulness, yet to watch actions that only contradict the professions made.
I asked myself a question the other day, “Did Satan ever say to Christ, ‘When are you just gonna give it up?” How many people has he whispered that to in the midst of a trial until the person responds, “Now, I’m done.” Peter writes of a fiery trial which is to try us. The word try is to prove. I am afraid I must report to you that I am not perfect. I have told my church for the past 11 years (many times) “I will fail you and so will my wife and my children.” I have also said, “I will not run when wolf comes.” I also must tell you, over the past 20 years, many have failed the test. They have been weighed in the balances and have been found wanting. James said the trying of our faith worketh patience and when patience is complete, we shall want nothing. David writes of how the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. Sometimes I wonder, “How many people left, simply because they didn’t get what they wanted?” Not really what they needed, but what they wanted. How many have left their church, because they, didn’t stop getting fed, but rather stopped getting coddled? I ask you again, “When is it time to quit?”
Jesus was beaten, spat upon, lied on, falsely accused, betrayed and denied, yet He continued up the way of the cross to fulfill His duty. So many have unfinished business and will never have a completely peaceful life, because they have quit. I must say, “Return to Beth-el!!!”