I have recently made mention of “quitting while you’re ahead” a few times recently. See, if you know me, you may know that I’m not the most sportsastic person. Over the years, I have played football, soccer, and even paintball, but I was never one to have a baseball or basketball in my hands.
This week has been different for me.
I’ve been in North Carolina since Sunday, and the kids here love playing games. Last night I did two amazing things during these games, but they were both thwarted when I tried to do them again. You can imagine my frustration when I amazed the people around me, but ruined my pedestal when I failed time and time again! It left me wondering, what is the Biblical principle of “quitting while you’re ahead?” At the moment, I had longed to quit early to maintain my clean record, so why did I try again? Was I being greedy or trying to test myself? More importantly, would Jesus want me to quit while I’m ahead in my daily life?
Obviously playing baseball may not leave a permanent indention in my Christian faith, but I thought about the principle stretched out further. Jesus is always calling people to leave their lives. Some of the disciples could not say good-bye to their families! Other people have been called to leave their high-paying jobs and sell everything they own. So, would a God that is constantly requesting people to leave their comfort zone be comfortable with me giving up out of fear of failure? I know that sounds harsh, but it is essentially the same as quitting while you’re ahead.
“I’m going to leave my job or decline my promotion because I’m afraid I can’t do the other job.”
“I’m not going to help with kids because I don’t think I can handle it.”
“I’m stepping down from my leadership role because I have a good thing going.”
“I’m sticking with my normal life because I don’t have the tools to go out and serve.”
All of these quote are just excuses that we use to console our feelings of inadequacy. The truth is that we must not quit whether things are great or awful. We are called to follow God through all aspects of life, even when we are required to leave our comfort zone.
“Quitting while you’re ahead” is cowardice. We often give up before we even begin to try. Why are we so scared? God has already equipped us with all of the tools we could possibly need. Look at Mark 6:8-9. It says:
“These were his instructions: ‘Take nothing for the journey except for a staff– no bread, money, or bag on your hip.Wear sandals but not an extra shirt.'”
Why would Jesus tell the disciples to not take any extra equipment with them? It is because they are the equipment! They have this great task set before them. If they stop right now, they would end on a high note, but it is simply not good enough. They push ahead with nothing but themselves because when Jesus calls us, He doesn’t call the future you with extra materials or knowledge, He calls you. God wants us right this minute, and if you quit before the going gets tough, you’re quitting before the ending gets greater.