Legendary NFL Head Coach Vince Lombardi, was known for his motivational quips and quotes:
“Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” Another one,
“The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will”. So true! But the one I believe to be the most notable is his statement that , “Winners never quit and quitters never win”. I actually grew up hearing that quote, from teachers, my step-dad, even my band teacher.
I remember in the 5th grade, out of over a dozen flute players, I was the only boy. I stuck it out that whole year but then, I quit. What boy in elementary school wants to be surrounded by ALL girls? A year later, that attitude soon changed; what boy in junior high school would NOT like to be around girls ☺? And though, I had quit before, my teachers drilled in my head, that quitting was not an option, winners NEVER quit.
I also, remember one summer I was asked to help out a neighbor, single mom, who had a couple of kids. She asked me to watch her kids all summer and she would pay me. My mother discouraged me from this “lucrative” endeavor. But hey, I was 10 years or so and knew better than she did. Within, a few weeks of this commitment, I wanted to quit. I was missing out on summer fun, the neighbor didn’t pay me regularly and it was hard work. I went to my mother several times begging her to let me quit but she made me keep my word and stick it out ALL summer.
A similar incident happened to me as well, in the summer. I was a freshman in Bible College and needed a summer job in order to pay for my schooling. Low and behold, Butler Manufacturers, a maker of steel grain bins, was hiring college students as a means of training and exposing them to different positions in their company. I knew this was my opportunity, especially at $12+ an hour; this was back in the dark ages, 1981.
I showed up in my business suit and briefcase (even though it was empty, I wanted to look the part), in hand. I interviewed and told them all the reasons why they needed this college student to be a part of their company training. They were hiring for their office department and factory/warehouse. I obviously was designed for office work, suit and all.
The next week, I and a few other college students received a call that we were the chosen ones. I was so happy that God had heard my prayer and provided me with this job. They told us to show up on a certain day and be prepared for a few assessment tests. I showed up in my suit, of course, briefcase as well and was ready for the challenge of office work.
I was shocked and disappointed as they walked me right past the pristine office area to the noisy, dirty and massive factory, warehouse where they made the steel grain bins. I went through a battery of tests, but there was one I was destined to fail. I had to drive a humongous forklift truck and back it up with a 18ft trailer of steel behind it. I ashamedly tell you, that I purposefully flunked that test. There was NO WAY, I was going to spend the summer doing that. Several of us took that test and I was the worst of them all.
We finished our testing and were told to come back the next day, (without the suit), and there would be a posting of what positions we would have in the warehouse. I hardly slept the night before and arrived at the worksite early. I had prayed for God to bless me and grant me the desires of my heart. I felt confident in what God would do.
I saw the posting, found my name and ran my finger across the page to see my position for the summer… “Forklift truck driver” That HAD to be a mistake! I flunked it…on purpose… “is this a cruel joke?” No, it was God’s plan for me that summer. There were days that I literally cried before I got to work. I WANTED TO QUIT, so badly! But I didn’t. I stayed the entire summer and even shared my faith with many of the men who vowed to “convert” me to their dark ways before the summer was over. It was ingrained in me, Winners. Never. Quit. Keep going. Keep fighting in the face of adversity and trials.
But as I have matured over the years, I have discovered that good earthly advice doesn’t always transfer into the spiritual realm of reality. There are times when we should quit. There are times when God wants you to quit, to give up. I was reminded of this, last Sunday when our guest speaker said, “Some of you need to say to Jesus, ‘I Quit’. “ This is a declaration of surrender, humility and brokenness.
In the movie The Help, there is a scene where “the help” Aibileen (an African American domestic worker), is falsely accused of stealing silver from her boss Elizabeth. This deceitful allegation is conjured up by Elizabeth’s friend, the spiteful and mean “Miss Hilly”. She is using her power as a means of revenge on Aibileen. Hilly tells her friend to call the police. As she does, Aibileen moves in very close to her…eye to eye and says:
“All you do is scare and lie to try to get what you want.
You a godless woman! (She pauses)
Ain’t you tired Miss Hilly… Ain’t you tired??”
I wish you could hear the way she said it… “Ain’t you tired, Miss Hilly…Ain’t you tired?” With that question, tears streamed down Hilly’s face. This scene is etched in my mind.
There is truth pouring forth from that scene. The connection between godlessness and tiredness. It’s a life where God is absent, and all you are left with is you. The more you live without God, the more you strive and try, which leads to fatigue. It’s a life of trying to fill up that which is empty. It’s a life of pushing a car up hill. This is the “godless” life.
Have you ever heard the Holy Spirit say to you… “Ain’t you tired?” Ever felt exhausted from trying to run your own life, making your own decisions. Tired of striving. Tired of trying to live the “right” life, the Christian life. Tired of hiding your sin. Tired of pretending. Tired of trying to hold it all together?
Then QUIT. Tell Him, (Christ) “I Quit…have your way…have it all!” Even in uncertainty and chaos, when all seems hopeless, the world seems to be falling apart, the Bible says:
“Cease striving and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our stronghold”. Selah.
Psalm 46:10,11 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
Instead of living god-less lives of exhaustion, live the “quitters” life of surrender and security. I know that some of you are wrestling with this and even arguing against it as you read it. But there is a time to say “I quit”.
Quit striving and start Resting in God’s sovereign plan.
Quit resisting and start Receiving what God has already given you.
Quit Doubting and start Believing the promises of God’s Word.
Quit Hiding and start Risking transparent community with God’s people.
There is an incredible life of Godly adventure that awakes all who say “I Quit”.