Wednesday, May 3, 2023

When Should You Throw In the Towel?

Suggested Reading: Hebrews 10:19-39

When I was working on my Master's Degree, about two years into my four year program, I got really tired of school. I had already spent five years working on my undergrad and was now working on another degree at the same school with the same professors. Some of the work was getting tedious. Some of the professors were driving me crazy. I was working full time and supporting a wife and two children so all of my studying got done between 11:00 pm and 3:00 am. I was tired. I was worn out. I was sick of dealing with school and felt the very real temptation to quit. I had other things to spend my energy on. But when I actually considered quitting, I was immediately struck by the amount of time and money I would have wasted. Then I started thinking about the effort that would have been flushed down the drain and the time I had spent putting up with all of the hassles that come with school. I eventually came to the conclusion that quitting school would be the equivalent of throwing away all of that time, effort and money and I couldn't do it.

However difficult working on my Master's Degree may have been, living an authentic, Christ-centered Christian life can be even more demanding. Jesus tried to prepare us for that when he counseled his listeners to count the cost before following him. He knew that doing the right thing, when few others were doing so themselves, would, at times, be frustrating. Jesus knew that following his example would lead to rejection and persecution. He knew that following the call of God would sometimes lead us down a less financially beneficial path than we might otherwise have chosen. We could continue through scripture and read about Paul when he complained that the apostles were considered the "refuse of the earth" compared to everyone else. Scripture tries to prepare us for a hard life as followers of Christ.

But however much we think we are prepared, when we find ourselves in the midst of those difficult circumstances, faced with troubles and problems we might not ever have faced without following Christ, the temptation to quit, to throw in the towel and walk away, can always surface. When those times come, when the road is tough and we consider how much easier it might be to just give up, consider these words from the book of Hebrews: "Do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God's will. Then you will receive all that he has promised" (Hebrews 10:36, NLT).

When the tough times come and you are tempted to quit, remember what you have endured. Refuse to throw away your time, your effort, and your trust in God. Choose to push through. Finish your course. You may have to endure some difficult paths now, but you will be rewarded for your patient endurance.

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