If the stats are right, several pastors reading this are burned out and thinking of quitting… or at least wishing it could happen. The old joke about “writing your resignation letter every Monday” has a grain of truth. You’re burned out. Used up. Frustrated. In conflict. Spiritually drained. Unappreciated.
I don’t know if you’re one of those. I hope not. But odds are, someone reading this said under your breath, “That’s me.”
For the next few minutes, I’m talking to you.
For just the next few minutes, you are a boxer. The bell has rung, ending the round — just in time. Literally, saved by the bell. You stagger back to the corner, battered and bleeding. Collapsing onto the stool, you say, “I’m done. I can’t do it. I’ve got to quit.” A quick swipe of the towel, and I’m down in your face. Through clenched teeth, in a low growl, here’s what I’ve got to say:
“Jesus called you to suffer well.”
Don't believe the lie that says if you were in the will of God, you wouldn't be hurting. Not all pastors are called to blowout success. I don’t know the “Why of heaven” on this. But you know in your gut it’s true — there are too many godly & gifted men through history who didn’t see big numbers and huge churches. If you see this moment, not as unfair, but as the calling of God to face the attack of the enemy, it makes a difference!
“This will not last forever.”
Don’t quit because of a season! You can outlast that critic. Those children will not always be so small. God will answer prayer. Someone will be changed. You will not always feel this alone. Your spouse will not always be sick.
“This is where you prove your grit.”
You must — you MUST watch this video.
“Heaven is worth this.”
I know you’re doubting it will ever be any different, and thinking that you have no more strength. But remember your brothers & sisters in Moslem countries. Remember those have lost eyes, hands, jobs… those who have been tied to stakes and flogged.
They found that Christ was worth the pain. They found that He satisfies here on Earth, and they proved his supreme worth by what they suffered. And when we arrive in heaven, whatever pain you’re experiencing will only produce greater glory when you’re in His All-Satisfying Presence.
“This is the price of Christian leadership.”
1 Corinthians 4:9 For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on display at the end of the procession, like men condemned to die in the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to angels as well as to men. 10 We are fools for Christ… We are weak… we are dishonored! 11 To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless. 12 We work hard with our own hands. When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it; 13 when we are slandered, we answer kindly. Up to this moment we have become the scum of the earth, the refuse of the world. (NIV)
Suffering is not new in Christian leadership! You think you’re better than Paul? Or Stephen? Or Jesus?
Get your head up. No, look up here. Look me in the eye.
Grit your teeth and say it: I will not quit.
No, don’t you mumble and drop your eyes. LOOK AT ME.
I WILL NOT QUIT.
I. WILL. NOT. QUIT.
Now, call a preacher friend or mentor and tell them you’re not going to quit. Email me and tell me you need prayer, but you’re not going to quit. I will stop and pray for you as soon as I get the email. We are in this thing together. We need you. No more men running for the safety of the rear lines while the shells of the enemy scream overhead!
Now, type I WILL NOT QUIT in the Comments below.
Then, go read this post about action steps you can take if you’re burned out and discouraged as a pastor!