Summary: Why the Christian should never consider giving up.
Iliff and Saltillo UM Churches
October 12, 2003
“Giving Up--is Never an Option”
INTRODUCTION: Think back on a time in your life when you gave up on something or someone and years later you said, “I wish I would have stuck it out just a little bit longer.” I “gave up” too soon. I think we all have stories of regrets where we checked out too soon. Sometimes teenagers will quit school just six weeks before graduation. They could have made it if they had just stuck it out a little longer. Others might have learned how to play the piano if they had just not given up before they got through the first Red Thompson book that was so boring. Others could have lost the lbs. needed for better health if they had continued with a disciplined exercise program.
You all get the picture. Giving up is never an option in view of the desired long term outcome, but it is so easy to just give up too soon.
Let’s see how today’s scriptures can help us in our daily struggles.
1. The Big Picture: In Matthew 9 a woman had been struggling with health problems for 12 years. She had tried one thing after another to get well. She had spent much money on doctors but still wasn’t any better. She kept searching for answers and went to where Jesus was healing people. She thought “if I can just touch the hem of his garment, I will be healed.” Actually this was a pagan custom, but she did it in hopes that she would be well. She did what she knew to do. Sometimes we even refuse to do that. She pressed through the crowd, determined to get to Jesus. She finally reached out just enough to touch the hem. Jesus knew she was there and he said, “Take heart, daughter, your faith has healed you.” What direction might her life have taken if she had said, “things will always be this way. I will never get any better?” But she reached out in hope and in faith that in spite of all of her past failures and disappointments--things could still change for her. And they did.
In the Galatians scripture Paul uses the agricultural example of sowing and reaping to show the process leading to an eventual harvest--either favorable or unfavorable. He said to the Galatians, “Let us not become weary in doing good for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
Sometimes a picture is painted for us that when we become a Christian that all our troubles will be over and that it will be smooth sailing from there on out. Jesus did not “promise us a rose garden” but he did promise that He would be with us and that He would never leave us or abandon us.
As Christians--give up is never an option because Jesus is with us throughout life’s journey in spite of difficulties and problems. We need to look forward far enough to see the big picture and the overall goal we are pressing toward. Otherwise the day to day struggles get us discouraged and we are tempted to give up.
Hebrews 12:1,2 tells us to “throw off every thing that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles us and let us run with PERSEVERANCE the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” We realize that Jesus paved the way before us and that he also experienced lots of difficulties on the way. Yet he had a firm vision of the end product in mind and He didn’t give up or check out before the time.
Don’t allow yourself to become fatigued in doing good because at the right time you will harvest a crop if you don’t give up.
Paul in II Cor. 4:16 told the Corinthians look to the eternal rewards--the big picture. He said, “Therefore we do not lose heart though outwardly we are wasting away yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”
We must fix our eyes on Jesus and have a plan and a purpose because times are often difficult and Satan will come in and attack us with discouragement, doubts and all kinds of tactics. Have you lost sight of the big picture because you are focusing on the daily overwhelming struggles?
ILLUSTRATION: One man said, “I’ve got so many troubles that if anything bad happens today, it will be two weeks before I can worry about it.”