I have to confess, I’ve become a podcast junkie. One of my favorites is the Freakonomics podcast on NPR. A while back, hosts Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt produced a show on quitting. It was brilliant. Quitting is underrated.
In Christian circles, quitting has more baggage than just being afraid of a sense of failure. We often feel as though giving up on a project, program or agenda equals giving up on God or not having enough faith. But I think this is bad theology.
We Christians don’t believe in just life and death. We believe in life, death and… resurrection. In other words, while we Christians are aware that we are constrained to realities of life and death just as any other human being, we have hope. And that hope is in a God that is working beyond those constraints of life and death, that can actually defeat death. Its something we can’t do. Its something God can. That’s why we follow him.
So, for Christians giving up can be a good thing. When its time for our projects, programs, campaigns, agendas… even churches to die, we ought to let them. Because we believe that there is an agenda far greater than ours working within the world that does not depend upon our efforts but certainly welcomes them. And an opportunity to participate in the kingdom of heaven will always resurrect itself within our reach. We just need to be ready for it.
There is another side to this. In a short-attention span culture such as hours, we tend to move on from one thing to another often too quickly. My recommendation to let things die when its time isn’t an excuse to give up early or to flow with the whims of culture. Rather, I am simply trying advocate for a proper humility and hope. That God is at work in the world, that we’re invited to participate in that. Yet, the winds of the Spirit often change, and our hang-ups can often get in the way. When one of these two things happen. Quit. Let it go. And watch and listen for what God is inviting you into next.