Quitting The Ministry
No … but I do have some thoughts.
I’ve been enjoying greatly my reading through Jeremiah. I love him because he’s just so …human.
Jeremiah reached the point where he had enough. He was considering calling it quits. He pours out his soul when he says: “I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name.” Jeremiah 20:9
I wish I could say I never felt like Jeremiah did. I’m sure I’m not the only one that has. Nor will I be the last either.
Interestingly, here’s the reason, in his own words, for his emotional outburst:
7 O Lord, thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived; thou art stronger than I, and hast prevailed: I am in derision daily, every one mocketh me. 8 For since I spake, I cried out, I cried violence and spoil; because the word of the Lord was made a reproach unto me, and a derision, daily.
You have to admire his honesty with God. It’s something we should all strive after.
If I were to be honest: I’m kind of feeling a little like Jeremiah did. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I’m of the same caliber as Jeremiah. And, I’ve not gone through nearly anything like he had to endure. But in my little Messianic bubble of a world, I kind of wonder at times … is it worth it, what’s the point, what difference does any of it make, who really cares?
Please understand, I’ve not lost my faith in God or His Word. I am, however, starting to loose it in relation to the “people” of God. Thankfully, I find a correlating source of comfort in Jeremiah’s very own experience. In his time, the people were so far gone that God told Jeremiah to not even bother to pray for the people. Try to get your head around that.
And so …
Jeremiah looked around him and saw that God’s people were heading in a 180 degree direction from what God wanted them to be like. We’re told that the people had forsaken the Torah. And as a consequence, they lived the kind of lives they wanted to and believed they had God’s stamp of approval — even though they were living in disobedience to God and His Word.
The political and religious leaders had carved out their own standards in defiance to what God had said He wanted. The local Ministerial Association (Priests and Prophets) thought Jeremiah was a joke. Even his own family and the people of his own town saw him as a wacko and distanced themselves from him. He literally was pretty much on his own.
I personally think Jeremiah was struggling with the fact that God’s chosen people couldn’t/wouldn’t admit how far they had removed themselves from the “ancient landmarks” of their forefathers. They not only forsook the standards of their forefathers, they actually upped the ante — they were worse. And yet, as Jeremiah tried to tell the people this they still didn’t get it.
Jeremiah faithfully preached God’s message and yet he saw little results. Pretty much the only results he got were more hatred and persecution from the people he tried to minister to. He got arrested, put in stocks and even got put into a muddy pit. And on top of that, the people considered him a traitor to the Babylonians.
And yet …
Somehow he stayed faithful to God for about four decades of service. Yes he wanted to quit the ministry and go his own way, but ultimately he didn’t. He knew God had placed His hand upon him to be a deliverer of God’s Word.
I shutter to think what Jeremiah’s perspective would be in relation to Christianity and the Messianic Movement of our day. Do you think he’d have a few choice words for God’s people? I dare say yes.
And you know why?
Because a significant portion of those who call themselves “Christians” and “Messianics” have forsaken the Torah. — “How dare you!” you say.
Are we really any different when it comes to our personal knowledge of, and walking out of, the Torah of God in our lives? Look back over your life. Have you gone forward or backward? Are you the same? Have you progressed any?
I’m still, after having been saved forty-five years, baffled at how the mindset and perspective of God’s people so consistently mirrors that of the world. “Oh, we’re not so bad.” Why do believers actually think that? They don’t realize that they always trail the world by just a few years. God’s people look and act pretty much like the world did not that long ago.
Folks: We’re not getting better as God’s people; we’re getting worse … worse than our forefathers that lived and died hoping the next generations would stand on their shoulders and exceed them.
All I know to do is keep on keeping on.
I think what is helping me is this: I’m no longer looking to achieve results in anybody’s life but my own. If I can preach and minister to others and do some good, that’s great. But my main goal is to stay faithful to God and let Him bring about whatever needs to be done in His people in His own time. My responsibility is to stay faithful to God, regardless. Only God can bring about change. I can’t even change myself without Him doing it.
So what kept Jeremiah from calling it quits? The same thing that will keep us doing the will of God for our lives.
Here’s what he said in the second part of our verse: “But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.”
It was the Word of God, God’s commission on his life, that wouldn’t let him quit.
I think the same must have been true for Paul as well. He cautioned us all when he said in Galatians 6:9 — And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.
Do we really care enough to hang in there long enough to reach the “in due season” part of God’s will for our lives?
Only you can answer that.
Just don’t quit.
Quitting The Ministry