“Finish what you start” isn’t always good advice.
As a child, I was told, “Don’t be a quitter.” and “Finish what you start.” These commands served as a means of encouragement and motivation for academic performance, athletic prowess, and character building. Through these instructions, I learned responsibility, and I find myself saying the same words to my daughter.
Nobody wants to be thought of as a quitter. After all, we don’t want to be thought of as weak or lazy. And I don’t want people on my team who are too eager to give up, either. Even Jesus warned about a lack of commitment: “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62).
While I firmly believe in the importance of following through on one’s actions, and completing what you start, I’ve grown to understand that there are times—both as a leader and a minister of the gospel—that call for quitting. There are ministries or roles or jobs that require a necessary ending.
Through quitting these things, I learn invaluable lessons about God’s character, my identity in Christ, the work God is doing in my heart, and the purpose he has set before me. To be a good quitter, we must be humble as we seek to understand what God wants us to do. And while God certainly doesn’t ask us to quit for the sake of it, he does call us to discern when it’s best to quit or give up something for the sake of something else.
Continue reading at Christianity Today’s Gifted for Leadership.