By Kevin Riggs
“Quitters never win, winners never quit.” That’s a motto worthy of our best effort. But guess what? I quit! That’s right, you heard me, I give up. I throw in the towel. The fat lady has sung. I’ve had enough. After 23 years in ministry—15 of them as pastor—I quit!
I quit trying to do a great work for God. Ministry is too demanding, too draining. The harder I try the more I feel like a failure. I answered the call to preach because I wanted to do something great for the kingdom. But you know what? I quit.
Kingdom building is not about me doing something great for God; it’s about God doing something great in me. As long as I am trying to do something great for Him, I am standing in the way of Him doing something great in me. So I quit.
I have also decided to quit trying to be “cute” in ministry. One book tells me I need to be “seeker sensitive” and my sermons need to be collections of biblically-based, self-help mumbo-jumbo. Another tells me in order for my worship service to be effective I need to have drama and comedy and famous people and videos and give-a-ways and lights and camera and action. In order to be culturally relevant, I am told, I must also be media savvy.
But you know what? I quit. The gospel message is simple enough for a child to understand. Jesus loves me, He died for my sins, He rose from the dead, and one day soon He is returning. Straight-forward stuff. No bells and whistles. Not very pretty. Pretty foolish, if you ask me. But this simple message is the power of God. So I quit.
I have figured out that I will never figure everything out, so I have decided to quit trying to figure it all out. I don’t know everything and I don’t want to know everything. Besides, ministry is not about “figuring,” it’s about faith. It’s walking boldly into the unknown in spite of my fear. It’s about acting in spite of my doubts. It’s about obedience in spite of my confusion. So I quit.
Furthermore, I have decided to quit trying to change people’s hearts and quit worrying about my inability to do so. It’s not my job to change people. My job is to let the Heart Surgeon transplant His heart into mine, and then tell others He can do the same for them. Ministry is not about me. Ministry is about God. So I quit.
I have decided to quit trying to do ministry on my own, in my own strength, under my own power. To use an old cliché, I have decided to let go and let God. I quit so God’s work can continue.
Someone else, a fellow quitter, said, “He must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3:30). Jesus said, “So the last shall be first, and the first last” (Matthew 20:16). In Jesus Christ, quitters always win and winners always quit. So I quit!
ABOUT THE WRITER:Dr. Kevin Riggs is a pastor in Franklin, TN. Article adapted from Contact Magazine.