Don't Quit, Finish!
I will set up shepherds over them who will feed them; and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, nor shall they be lacking,” says the LORD ( Jeremiah 23:4, NKJV)
I recently posted a short video on my website, www.karenjethroe.com, to encourage pastors who may be confronted with the temptation to quit every now and then. My encouragement was directed to women pastors and/or those who pastor small churches. Let me share with you what Holy Spirit spoke to my heart just a few weeks ago when I was having one of those moments.
It had been an unusually hard week of ministry and life leading up to this particular Sunday. The weight of being the pastor was resting heavily upon me. Like baby birds with their mouths wide open waiting to be fed by their mother, I could feel the hunger of the people longing for a word from the Lord. In that same moment, I was hit with a plethora of emotions, none of which were positive. In my tired, albeit selfish mind, I was sitting there planning my exit strategy. I was calling it quits!!
In the midst of my personal pity party, Holy Spirit got my attention. Right smack dab in the middle of worship He told me to look at the audience. As my eyes perused the room from front to back, left to right, I saw families worshipping together. I saw single moms, divorced dads, ex-offenders, cancer survivors, abuse survivors, delivered addicts and those still in the struggle. I saw children and young adults with hands raised in worship. I saw my own family of siblings, children, grandchildren, mom and even my spouse, all who have submitted themselves to my leadership.
It was at this moment when Holy Spirit began to interrogate my previous thoughts with the most tender rebuke and powerful revelation as only He can do. He began to ask me simple questions. What would happen to these people if you quit? How many of these people would die spiritually? How many would quit now that they know that quitting is an option? How many would become church visitors rather than remaining committed to a church home? How many would not fulfill their purpose or destiny? What about your harvest? Are you willing to cast it aside simply because you are tired?
As painful as it is, I am always thankful for the way Holy Spirit can completely crash a pity party by exposing the work of the devil. He said to me, “The enemy is not just after you. He is after them. He knows if you quit, many of them will too.”
These words from Holy Spirit pierced my heart. With hands lifted, tears streaming down my face, I repented. I repented for making it all about me. I repented for not casting my cares upon Him who cares for me. I repented for thinking that I had the option to quit what I had not finished. I repented for devaluing the call of God upon my life and the people who He has given me the privilege to shepherd.
As I humbled myself before His mighty hand, I immediately felt his strength infusing me with the love, strength, and compassion that I would need to feed His sheep on this particular Sunday and those to come.
I don’t know how many of you can identify with what I have shared. If it’s you, don’t let the enemy defeat you. Don’t quit what you have not finished. Go to God and let him do for you what He did for me. He is there to help you and to strengthen you and see you through to the finish line.