When you want to give up your calling and quit ministry

Have you ever been doing something that you know that God has called and gifted you to do, but you just want to quit?  Sometimes walking in the ministry that God has given us is just plain hard.  Recently I have been wrestling with God’s call on my life to lead and to teach.  I have wished that I could just quit being a leader and a teacher, and just serve in the background again.  I know that God has called and gifted me to be a leader and a teacher, but I just don’t want to do it anymore.  It is too hard and it hurts to much.

My fantasy is that I could simply give out food at my church’s Food Pantry and not lead women or teach the Bible.   Somehow handing out bags of rice and beans in my Fantasy Island seems less likely to draw hurtful criticism.

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I feel guilty for wanting to lay down my position, platform, gift, and influence but like many other ministry leaders I’ve been hurt and I feel discouraged.  My sweet, sensitive self is just not cut out for criticism, complaints, and confrontation, not to mention the frustration and disappointment of ministry. When I go to God, I tell Him that I am ready to quit and to lay it all down.  And then I worry that He won’t let me quit –  I am His bondslave, after all.  I have to be obedient to what He requires of me.

Perhaps you are ready to quit too.  You may be ready to quit your ministry or your job or reaching out to your neighbors.  You may be ready to quit serving your family members or cleaning up after your kids or unconditionally loving your husband.  You may be done with God, done with the battle, and done with dying to yourself.   You are weary of giving so much of yourself and seeing so little in return.  Your heart is so broken that you don’t have the strength or the desire to go on.

As I wrestled with God over this in prayer, He spoke to me and said, “Women’s ministry is the place of your sacrifice.  It is as Mary’s hair on the feet of Jesus.”

We see Mary’s act of worship in John 12 and Mark 14.  She was at a dinner with Jesus.  She saw that her sister Martha was serving and her brother Lazarus was hanging out with Jesus at the table.  I believe that she noticed that no one was worshiping Jesus.  So she stepped in to meet a need, and to worship the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.  She took an alabaster vial of costly perfume and she broke it and poured it out on the feet of Jesus.  This was the place of her sacrifice.  Her sacrifice was fragrant – it filled the whole house with perfume.

When she did this, she was judged.  She was criticized for using a costly perfume on the feet of Jesus.  She was scolded because the perfume could have been sold and the money given to the poor.  The others were indignant but Jesus defended her.  He rushed to Mary’s defense.

What about you?  Do you have a valuable gift to give at the feet of Jesus?  What perfume do you have to offer?

Your perfume that you offer at the feet of Jesus is your calling, your gifts, your skills, your passions, and your anointing.  It is the place where you serve, whether in the church or the workplace or the home.  Jesus has needs that only you can meet.  Are you willing to offer to Jesus the costly gift of your own life?  Like Mary’s alabaster vial, are you willing for your life to be broken and for your gifts and abilities and service to be poured out unto Jesus?

This is the place of YOUR sacrifice.

Even when it is hard, we will persevere.
Even when we don’t want to, we will.
Even when others gossip, we will forgive.
Even when others criticize us, we will love.
Even when people hurt us, God will heal us.
Even when we are worn out, God will strengthen us.
Even when the work is thankless, we will persevere.  
Even when we want to quit, we won’t.  

Because our gift is for Jesus, not for us.

Let’s choose to pour out our lives, our costly perfume, on the feet of Jesus.  Just like Mary’s perfume, our lives will be a fragrant aroma that impacts the whole world.

What about you?  Is there an area in your life where you feel like giving up?  Let me know about it.  I would love to pray for you. 

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