3 times when quitting is a good idea

March 14th, 2010 · by Tom Stuart · Growth & Development, Overcoming

Quitting is usually not considered a wise decision. But there are times when it is and that can be a relief.  The saying “winners never quit and quitters never win” is not always true.  Sometimes a person needs to quit in order to ultimately win.

This morning my assigned daily readings took me into Luke 5 and Psalm 127.  It never ceases to amaze me how the Lord has a way of matching scripture verses like obscure pieces in one of those gazillion piece vacation puzzles.  In this case I discovered both passages complement one another as a study in contrast between futility and productivity.

Luke 5 begins with the story about how Peter and the boys worked all night and didn’t catch a thing.  And then Jesus comes along and asks to use Peter’s boat as a floating pulpit.  Since it wasn’t much good for anything else Peter agrees. 

When the sermon ended, Jesus tells Peter to get back to work.  Peter resists because all his nets are clean and put away, and he thinks its not the right time of day for fishing.  As it turns out Jesus has a fish finder and they end up overwhelmed by a humungous haul of fish.. It’s like a scene from the “Deadliest Catch” where both Peter’s and his partner’s boats almost sink.  

Psalm 127 also juxtaposes the futility of working long hours without results and the blessing that comes when God is involved.

And so the picture emerging from the joining of these two scripture pieces together reveal three times when it’s a good idea to quit struggling and give up.

1. It’s a good idea to quit when Jesus is not in your boat.  Both passages make it clear that if God is not in something we are doing, it is ultimately a waste of our time.  If he’s not building it or guarding it, why should we?   So why not quit and find out what God is doing and blessing. 

2. It’s a good idea to quit when it’s the wrong timing or when you’re going about it the wrong way.  As they say “timing is everything,” and I’ll add, God’s timing.  Expecting a harvest in seed time only leads to futility. And we’ve also heard “work smarter, not harder.”  Giving up on misplaced timing and methods can lead to discovering the right way to do something.

3. It’s a good idea to quit when you need a rest. Sometimes rest and a fresh perspective may be all we need to breakthrough into productive results. That’s clear from Psalm 127:2 where a good nights sleep is the best prescription for futile effort.

What have you learned about good times to quit?  Are there other times when giving up is a good idea?   Tomorrow – three times when quitting is a bad idea.

2 Responses to “3 times when quitting is a good idea”

  1. It is a good time to quit when I am trying to do too much! I need to focus on one thing rather than many. If I don’t, everything I do is mediocre and half done and I get burnt out. Some people can multi-task – I tried and I had half done projects all over the house. I need to see something thru to completion then it will be done well.

  2. You bring out a good point. What we choose to quit has a lot to do with what we consider our priorities. It is wise as you say, to quit the things we do that are less important. They drain our energy and dilute our focus from doing the things that really matter.

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