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Don’t Quit This Year!

Regrettably, sadly, people quit the church every year. Think back over the last twelve months. Look around next Sunday morning. It is highly unlikely that you are a member of a congregation where no one has given up within the last twelve months. The odds are that someone in attendance this January will be out of their pew next January. Will it be you or me? What is the difference in those who give up and those who don't?

The Bible continually warns us not to become weary and slow down: "To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for ... eternal life ... let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not ... I desire that ye faint not ..." (Rm. 2:7; Gal. 6:9; Eph 3:13; cf 2 Thes. 3:13; Zeph. 3:16).

What motivation can we find to go? Whose example can we follow?

JACOB HELD ON BECAUSE HE WANTED A REWARD (Gen. 32:24-35). Jacob wrestled with an angel (perhaps the Lord) until the break of day. Why did he not quit? After all he was old; he had fought all night and had not prevailed. He must  have been tired. Why not give up?

Because he wanted a blessing. He had a reward in mind and would not quit until he received it. Christians are in a "wrestling match" as well (Eph. 6:12). We grow tired. We grow older. Battle fatigue sets in. Why do we not just give up? Because we have our minds fixed on a reward (Rev. 21; Jn. 14:1-3). We want more than anything to go to heaven. If we let go, our hope for reward sails away as a  balloon or a windy day.  The Bible  often holds the "carrot " of reward in front of us to keep us racing to the goal: "...beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch  as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord ... I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing ... whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end ... For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end ... Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord ... Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward" (I Cor. 15:58; 2 Tim. 4:6-8; Heb 3:6,14; Jas. 5:7; 2 Jn. 1:8).

MOSES HELD ON WITH HELP FROM OTHERS (Ex. 17:9-13). Moses sent Joshua and the armies of Israel into battle against the Amalakites. As he stood on the mountain and watched the battle unfold below, he held the rod of God in his hand. As long as he held up his hand Israel prevailed, but when he put it down to rest, the Amalakites pushed Israel back. As he watched, some mother's son fell to the enemy's sword. He must have felt responsible. But he just could not keep his arms up. They were too tired. What could he do? He could rely on the help of others. Aaron and Hur sat him on a stone and each took an arm to hold up. Moses learned that he could not do it all alone. He needed his brethren. We need each other (Gal. 6:2; Jas. 3:17).

When you are getting discouraged, go to the elders, preacher, a Christian friend - talk to them. Let them "hold up your hands."

GIDEON KEPT FIGHTING BECAUSE THE BATTLE WAS NOT DONE (Jd. 6-8). Gideon's army, after God culled its cowards and careless, used unusual tactics to defeat the Midianites. These three hundred men attacked at night with a lantern, a pitcher, and a trumpet. They lit the lanterns, broke the pitchers, and sounded the trumpets. The Midianites got so confused that they killed each other! In the morning, the remaining Midianites tried to escape. Who would follow and finish the job? Surely these three hundred who had been up all night would not be expected to chase down these stragglers and do the "mop up" work. Yes! These same three hundred wanted to finish the job. They are described as "faint, yet pursuing." They wanted to finish what they had started.

We sometimes find ourselves "faint, yet pursuing." The battle has waged long and we feel the need for a battery charge. Yet we dare not stop. Duty drives us on. The battle is not done. There are souls to save - ours included. There are people who need love ... assistance ... encouragement.

We must not 'faint" in prayer this year (Lk. 18: 1; Jas. 5:16). We have not prayed all the prayers that need to be prayed. How many blessings do we miss - does the church miss - when we forget to pray (cf Jas. 4:2)? "Ere you left your room this morning, did you think to pray?"

We must not stop soul-winning this year (2 Cor. 4. 1-3 1 6). This may be the year that that one you love so much finally agrees to Gospel terms. Who waits for my invitation to hear the Gospel? If I cease to teach the Gospel, if I cease to stand up for the truth, if I cease to speak a good word for the church, who will do it? If our Gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost.

We must not let our hands “faint" this year (Isa. 13:7). There is much work to be done. If I do not visit the sick, help the needy, teach the children's classes, take care of the building, and the other works of the church, who will do it?

We must not faint in our worship this year (Mal. 1: 13). We have not yet offered God all the praise that He deserves. We have not yet learned everything we need to know from His Word. We have not yet given God thanks enough for the death of His Son. We have not yet shown God all the love that we need by our contributions. No, we must not faint in our worship.

Rafael Solano, a diamond prospector in Venezuela, had searched through rocks and riverbeds in vain. Tired, discouraged, and frustrated, he contemplated giving up. He had examined 999,999 rocks - by actual count - from the billions of smooth stones in these lonely riverbeds. He had nothing to show for his time. Rafael Solano squatted one more time - his last - and picked up a handful of stones to examine. The one he selected from his hand made one million. It was heavy; different from the others. Could it be? He weighed and measured. Yes! It was a diamond. A New York jeweler, Harry Winston, paid Rafael $200,000 for the rough diamond, which was later cut and polished. It was named the "Liberator," the largest and purest found diamond in the world. Perseverance paid off for Mr. Solano. It will pay much larger dividends for you. Don't quit this year.