Recently I was helping lead a Pastor’s Conference in Nashville, Tennessee where one
of my fellow presenters asked those attending a simple question: “What is your life verse?” Basically he was asking, “What’s that one verse of Scripture that is always with you? What’s that one verse that guides you and encourages you, that keeps you focused, that sets the agenda for your life?” Some of those in the audience responded out loud by quoting their particular life verse. I didn’t respond out loud but my mind immediately went to the words of Galatians 6:9 where Paul writes, Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. (NIV) That single verse of Scripture has carried me through 34 years of full-time Christian service.
Galatians 6:9 is my life verse because it has always reminded me that no matter how I’m feeling, no matter how discouraged I might be, no matter how many challenges I am facing it’s always too soon to quit. And it reminds me that God always has a “proper time” for the events in my life. Now, if I’m going to be honest I will have to tell you that there have been more than a few times when what Paul calls the “proper time” took longer to arrive than I wanted. There have even been times when it felt like it would never arrive. But it’s in those moments when we really need to dig in and make the determination to persevere because it’s always too soon to quit.
B.C. Forbes once wrote, "History has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed. They won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats." Here’s what I’ve learned over 34 years of ministry in a small church, in a turnaround church and in a megachurch: Ministry consists of overcoming one defeat after another. That’s true of the Christian life as well. The Apostle Paul tells us in Ephesians 6 that, as Christians, we are in a spiritual battle every day with an enemy who wants nothing more than to destroy our lives. And oftentimes he accomplishes that goal by causing us to get so tired or so discouraged or so frustrated that we just quit. But quitting is never the right choice. We may struggle at times, we may get stuck, we may lose a little ground but it’s in those moments that we need to remember: It’s always too soon to quit.
So wherever you are and whatever you’re facing in your life today, just remember, God has a “proper time” for you to reap a harvest. And you will discover it…I promise…if you just remember that it’s always too soon to quit.