Summary: Peter is given as an example of one of the first preachers who wanted to quit, from this text we can glean three questions that can cause us to desire to quit.
“When The Excitement Fades;
And you feel like quitting.”
[Sermon suggested in an article by the same name by Ed Underwood. (Kindred Spirit publication of Dallas Seminary, Spring 1992) pp. 10-13]
(All Scriptures quoted unless specified are New King James Version)
Quitters!!! Everybody knows one, almost everyone has been hurt by one, but nobody wants to be one. One of the most discouraging aspects of the ministry is the average church attender’s inability or unwillingness to stick it out. When the going get tough, they get going. When the way gets demanding then the ranks thin dramatically.
You may not be aware of it but the same temptation to quit is faced by the man behind the pulpit. I want to share with you the message I preached to the Arkansas Baptist Bible Fellowship preachers on Tuesday. I thought a first that I would change the perspective of this message being written to preachers, and then I thought that might be beneficial for you to hear it. You may are or may not be aware, Men are leaving the ministry at alarming rates today. At least part of the problem is the unreal expectations and pressures. That great giant of preachers Charles Spurgeon once wrote, “I feel as though I had created a great machine and it is ever grinding, grinding and that I may yet be its victim. No one knows the toil and care I have to bear.”
H. B. London and Neil Wiseman in their book Your Pastor Is An Endangered Species says that “Pastors dwell in a world of unfinished tyranny, where they can’t shut the door, walk out of the office, or know that something is completely finished. There’s always another Bible study, sermon, phone call, committee, hospital call, home visit, or gathering clamoring for attention.” [H. B. London and Neil Wiseman. Your Pastor Is An Endangered Species. (Wheaton, Illinois, Victor Books, 1996.) p. 31-32] The pastor is on duty twenty-seven hours a day, thirty-nine days a month, 412 days a year.
Lloyd Rediger in his book, Clergy Killers, says that Pastors are “…still expected to produce reassuring sermons, exciting programs and manage the church budget without causing discomfort to anyone but himself.” [G. Lloyd Rediger. Clergy Killers: Guidance for Pastors and Congregations Under Attack. (Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press, 1997) p. 28]
As a result of those pressures and the amount of stress that is faced in the ministry statistics tells that 50% of ordained ministers across denominational lines are out of the pulpit within 5 years, that indeed 1,500 pastors leave the ministry each and every month in this country. [Focus on the Family].
Peter is given as an example of one of the first preachers who wanted to quit. Tonight I want us to see three questions that can cause us to desire to quit.
In Matthew 28:7 the resurrected Lord had promised that he would meet up with the disciples in Galilee. They went to Galilee and waited and waited and waited. When some days had passed and still Jesus had not shown up the disciples, primarily Peter became impatient. Peter, disappointed in the delay, announced that he was going fishing. Now there is nothing innately wrong with him going fishing, but problem is that was a sign that they were drifting away from the calling of God upon their lives.
The first question that we need to avoid is,
1. Don’t Ask, What Am I Missing? (Jn 21:1-4)
The first danger we face that could cause to quit is that of looking in the wrong direction. After the trauma of the crucifixion and the turmoil of the resurrection, Peter and the other disciples were discouraged and now having waited for the Lord to appear they were impatient. They began to look back on the good old days of their lives before things became so complicated and frankly who can blame them. The days when there was a daily routine that could be counted on, were there was security of knowing what was next and the satisfaction of running their own lives. In John 21, we read that seven of the disciples have gathered at Peter’s home in Capernaum waiting for Jesus when Peter impatient as always declares in verse three, “I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee.”
Perhaps you are under the impression that you are the only believer that ever feels like quitting. Every preacher I know of faces the Monday morning desire to quit preaching and as some of our parishioners have told us over the years, “Get an Honest Job!” All of us have those weeks when would love nothing better than a 9 to 5, Monday through Friday job. In contrast to what many of our church people think the pastorate is not a life of ease. Every preacher has heard the statement, “Preachers only work on Wednesdays and Sundays,” until it difficult to be polite when we hear it any more. The truth is that “Pastors live in world that never stops, where the light never goes out, and where the average work week is between fifty-five and seventy-five hours.” [London. p. 31]