Sermon Sunday: Don’t Give Up Too Soon

Walt was out today. He’s up in North Carolina, sitting in a cabin, or walking in the woods, taking some God time to recharge and reconnect. I would imagine that when your job is to pour into other people all day, everyday, there comes a time when your cup is empty and you have to refill it. So he’s refilling it, and in his absence we had a guest speaker today, the good Rev. Dr. Frederick Terry. He had a bunch of accolades, but I didn’t write them down. It took me a little while to realize that without the outline that Walt provides with us, I was going to have a hard time writing this. I quickly found a piece of paper and a pew pencil and began taking notes.

Today’s talk was titled, Don’t Give Up Too Soon.

I’ll just hit the highlights. It’s not that I didn’t like Dr. Terry, it is obvious that the man is brilliant, well read, accomplished, and a sincere Christ follower, but his delivery was a little dry. Nonetheless, I listened intently so that I could take good notes, and learn something from the man.

…and I did.

Technology, while a magnificent tool for connecting while, has also isolated people. Computers, phones, and video game consoles make it so easy to connect with other people, but that also make it easy to disassociate from people as well. People get lost in chat rooms and face book, texting, and IMs. They get so wrapped up in their online lives that they ignore their real life.

As technology takes over our lives we are losing the essential person to person, face to face contact with our neighbors. We’ve allowed ourselves to lose touch with what is real.

Technology has also grown to be faster and faster with the passing months. We can no longer stand to sit and wait for anything. Patience is becoming a thing of the past. This idea has transcended technology into other areas of our lives. We want to lose weight now. We want a better paying job now. We want all over our hopes and dreams to come to fruition now. We want our prayers answered now. And when we finally realize that we not to stop, take a breath, and ask God for patience, we want that patience now.

We’ve given up on waiting, on working, and on being willing to do what it takes to achieve our goals.

Dr. Terry broke our eagerness to give up into three different categories.

  1. We are prone to give up on ourselves.
    1. we believe that we are nobody
    2. we believe we are nothing
    3. we believe we can’t
    4. we believe there is no point
    5. we have lost our sense of self
  2. We give up on others
    1. he spoke about Einstein’s elementary school teachers who said he never would amount to anything
    2. he talked about how we (me) and God could make it through
      1. “You may fail, but you will conquer.”
    3. he talked about how we should be encouraging others, always
  3. We give up on God
    1. Does Jesus care? Where is God?
      1. God is still near
        1. he hasn’t forgotten you
      2. he talked about Job’s trials
    2. “When there seems to be nothing to believe in, believe in God.”

And then he finished his original sentence:

“Don’t give up too soon, God is always near.”

He gave a lot of examples about how people gave up just before they would have accomplished their goals. I don’t know if they were all true, but they were a good reminder to never give up. No matter how long or hard the road looks, it’s always too soon to give up. There is always another step you can take. It was also a good reminder that it is OK to fail, as long as we don’t give up. Nothing is ever going to go out way 100% of the time; maybe not even 50%. And sometimes it feels like nothing ever goes our way. I guess when we recognize that is when we learn to give it all up to God and let him sort it out. He has a plan for each of us and the best thing we can do it get out of our own way and let God’s plan be our plan, failures and all.

Have you given up too soon?


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