Ready to Give Up?
Nehemiah 4: 6-14
Every once in a while in life, we all reach a point where we are just ready to throw in the towel and give up. We’re tired, frustrated, and exhausted and feel like there’s no use in continuing to try. Whether it’s a job, a relationship, health related problems, school, trying to lose weight, etc…we sometimes just don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel and had rather just quit the fight. Have you been there before?
Many years ago, there was a man in Kentucky who had recently retired from the postal service. He was sitting on his front porch when his first Social Security check arrived and he looked at it and felt so frustrated. He thinks to himself “Is this all I have to look forward to for the rest of my life?” He’s put in a long and hard career and now has little to show for it. Was it really worth all of that hard work?
So he sat down and made a list of all of his blessings and the good things he had going for him. Included in that list was his mother’s famous recipe for fried chicken which included eleven different herbs and spices. He was the only one who knew that recipe. So he went to a nearby restaurant and asked if he could cook the chicken and they said yes. Pretty soon, it became the most popular item at the restaurant. So he opened his own restaurant and called it Kentucky Fried Chicken and the rest is history. Harland Sanders was tired and frustrated but he refused to give up.
The Franciscans were the first ones to systematically grow grapes in California. They grew the Muscat grapes to make Muscatel wine. One year, they had a terrible drought and the grapes withered on the vine. They thought they were going to lose everything they had and were very disappointed. But some of them took those withered grapes to town and sold them as “Peruvian delicacies”. And that was the beginning of the Sun Maid Raisin company. These Franciscans had a potentially disastrous problem but refused to give up.
There is a terrible health problem running its course through our land and it’s one of the worst illnesses around. It’s a universal disease and it’s highly contagious. If you’re around someone who has it, you can catch it fairly quickly. It’s called the disease of discouragement. Discouragement has been defined as “the feelings of despair in the face of obstacles.” It’s when you’re just tired of giving forth the effort and you’re ready to call it quits.
We’ve all been there before haven’t we? You may even be there now, ready to give up on whatever you’ve been battling with for so long. Kind of like the old song, Home on the Range- “where never is heard a discouraging word, and the skies are not cloudy all day.”
This reading in the book of Nehemiah is a great story about both the causes and the cures for discouragement.
Many years earlier in the history of Israel, the walls of Jerusalem had been destroyed and the people were now defenseless and vulnerable to their enemies.
Nehemiah was called by God to lead the people in rebuilding the walls. But it seemed like an impossible task and the moral of the people was low. They were very discouraged and couldn’t see any light at the end of the tunnel.