I was taught to never to give up—to work hard and fight to the end. Determination, hard work, tenacity, these are all wonderful qualities that will help us achieve our goals in life, work, and ministry, right?
Well, sort of.
As a Christian, we’re often asked by God to give up. I believe God is able to use us when we humble ourselves in submission to His agenda—which sometimes mean surrendering everything we’ve built our lives upon.
Many of our Biblical heroes were challenged by God to surrender all they had for His glory. Job lost his beloved children, along with his possessions and riches. David went from shepherd to king to losing his kingdom, while being pursued by his own son. Joseph, the treasured son of Jacob, was sold into slavery by his own brothers. Naomi lost her home, husband, and sons during a famine. And then there is one of my personal favorites: Moses.
Moses spent the first part of his life thinking he was somebody important. He grew up in the Pharaoh’s palace in Egypt with all the privileges of a prince. When he was a young man, he fled as a common criminal after killing an Egyptian taskmaster. The Bible tells us he lived in the wilderness in Sinai and owned nothing. He worked for his father-in-law, tending sheep. And during this time, he realised he was a nobody—a “foreigner in a foreign land” (Exodus 2:22, NIV)
The last part of Moses’s life is most interesting to me. He discovered what God could accomplish through a humble nobody—a man who had given up on privilege, and status, and ego—when God raised him up to free the Israelites from captivity in Egypt. What strikes me most about Moses is he never seemed to lose his faith in the bigness of what God could do through him. Hebrews 3:4–5 (NIV) says, “For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house, bearing witness to what would be spoken by God in the future.”
Something special happens when a person is humbled. Their attitude shifts, and they become more open to God’s presence and guidance. Often, this process doesn’t happen quickly. Moses worked for his father-in-law for 40 years before he was called to return to Egypt. That’s a lot of hours doing nothing but thinking, praying, and watching sheep—a long time to learn and relearn to humbly trust God’s leading.
This story reminds me of the men and women we serve in prison, and how everything is taken from them—even their clothes. They’re stripped of their dignity and identity. How frightening that must be! But it’s amazing to think about how God can take such a situation and redeem it—especially when a heart surrenders and is transformed with humility—like in Moses’s story. And doesn’t this increase your hope for what the Lord can accomplish through you and me, too?
So as you lead your ministry today, don’t be afraid to become a humble quitter. Surrender your plans and abilities to God. It’s there you’ll find His strength to help you lead His people for His purposes. “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen” (Ephesians 3:20–21, NIV).