Summary: Sometimes we all feel like throwing in the towel and giving up.
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.
Let’s look at this story and discover their causes of discouragement.
1) Fatigue- v.10 “the strength of the laborers is giving out”. Now there’s a good ole Southern term-they were just “give out”. Ever felt give out? These people had worked hard for a long time and now they were just totally exhausted.
When you are physically tired and worn down, it is almost impossible to be emotionally and spiritually up. So what is the best thing to do when you are fatigued? Get some rest. Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is just go to bed and get some sleep. Just to remind you, it is not spiritual to do that at church so you are not excused for nodding during the sermon! Vince Lombardi said “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” Isn’t it amazing how much better things seem to be after a good nights sleep? Fatigue can often lead to discouragement so it is vitally important that we get the proper amount of rest.
Fatigue and discouragement usually occurs when you’re half way through whatever it is you’re trying to accomplish. v. 6 “So we rebuilt the wall til all of it reached half its height.” Everyone has energy at the beginning of a new task, but about half way through, we’re beginning to wonder if we’re gonna make it. When you reach the midpoint of climbing a mountain, you see how far you’ve come and how far you’ve got to go. You are tired and wondering if you should even try to continue. That’s why so many people never finish what they start, because half way there, they are worn out and they give up. Are you worn out and discouraged? Get the rest you need and that will help solve the problem.