Good Morning Everyone,
Our theme for this month: “A prosperous life”
Our Bible verse for today: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9 (NIV)
Our thought for today: “Don’t give up”
As you read these devotional messages each morning it might seem to you that I refer to myself, or use myself as an example, a lot. That’s true, and it is so because the writing of these messages is part of my personal daily devotional time with God. Therefore He usually uses these topics to address issues in my own life first. So these messages are usually for me first and for you second. That’s the case again today.
I’ve mentioned many times what a joy and a blessing it is for me to be the Pastor of Oak Hill Baptist Church. But in December of 2010 I almost quit. I was at one of the lowest points in all my years of ministry and I was on the verge of resigning. By then I had been the Pastor for two years. I had worked hard, used every method and strategy I knew of to help the church get healthy and to grow, but had little success. I felt like I was banging my head against a brick wall. Satan was all over me. He had me convinced I was the wrong man for this church and the best thing I could do was to get out of the way so they could get a new Pastor who could do something with the church.
So on a Sunday morning in December 2010, as I got up to preach, I was deeply discouraged. I opened my Bible and my notes, opened my mouth, and nothing came out. I tried again, but nothing. I stood there for a moment, but just could not preach. Finally I sensed the Lord telling me to just close my notes, pull up a stool, and talk to the people – just tell them what I was feeling. So I did.
Honestly, I was pretty sure that would mark the end of my time at Oak Hill. If they didn’t fire me I was going to quit. But the exact opposite happened. By the time we were done that morning people were crying, there were hugs, and person after person came up to me to affirm the importance of my ministry and to ask me to just hang in there. Over the next few weeks I received cards and calls and visits and encouragement. It ended up being the turning point for me and for our church. From that moment on, everything about our church life started to change.
I could write many pages about all the wonderful things God has done at Oak Hill Baptist Church in the seven years since then. I’ve mentioned some of those things before in other devotional messages. As I said in a different message just the other day, my ministry here at this church has ended up being a rich and deep spiritual experience for me and it’s one of the great joys of my life.
But here’s the point in all of this: I almost missed it! I almost quit and walked away! The best part of all of my years of ministry and I almost missed them by giving up when I was supposed to have stuck with it. I thank God for the kind and sensitive people who encouraged me to hang in there and to keep trying.
What is it that you are on the verge of walking away from? Obviously nothing lasts forever and sometimes things do have to end, but seldom is our problem that we stick with something too long. More often the problem is that we give up and quit when we should have stuck with it. I can’t help but wonder how many good things we miss in life because we gave up and quit when we should have stayed and kept trying.
I want to encourage you today to stick with it. Whatever “it” is in your life, stick with it. Don’t be too quick to give up. The best may be yet to come.