Most people give up too soon. In fact, many give up before they even begin. They have a plan to quit. It’s called an exit strategy; a common, acceptable reality of the politically correct times we live in. Even though the consequences of such actions have proven again and again to be detrimental and destructive both to ourselves and our contemporary culture, people still have them.
Rather than being the result of prudent planning and careful calculation, exit strategies, in far too many instances, have become one of the more deadly and damaging decisions one can make. Why? Because your success is strangled from the start by a predetermined plan to quit.
For example, a prenup is signed before a wedding so each person can preserve, protect and hopefully procure what is rightfully theirs when the marriage ends. Whatever happened to “for better or for worse,” “for richer or for poorer,” “until death do us part?” By the way, if someone asks you to sign one of those agreements, you might want to keep looking for the right mate who will be a life mate.
Exit strategies are not good strategies. Not if you want to succeed.
That’s why in 1519, when Cortez landed at Vera Cruz, Mexico, with a small army of about 700 soldiers, he purposely burned all eleven of their ships in the harbor. He did it at night so everyone, including their most formidable foes (the Aztecs) could see it. His own men watched their only means of retreat, and their only hope of return to their homeland, sink to the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico. No exit strategy there. History reveals, as a result of what Cortez did, they won a great victory.
Jesus never encouraged exit strategies. In fact, quite the opposite. Luke tells us Jesus said, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62). Paul didn’t encourage exit strategies either. He told the Galatians, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).
Ever wonder why some churches, Christians, marriages, businesses and people get into trouble and fall apart? This might surprise you, but it’s absolutely true – someone got tired of doing what they knew they ought to be doing and quit. Consequently, they missed the harvest God had for them.
You can help yourself to the harvest just by staying at your post, hanging in there, continuing to do what you know is right and being faithful. William Blake said, “There is no mistake so great as the mistake of not going on.” Put another way, the price of hanging it up is always higher than the price of hanging in there. What’s worse? If you quit, you miss the harvest.
After receiving the call of God to be the successor to Elijah, Elisha burned all his farming equipment, killed his twenty-four oxen, cooked the meat on the fire and served a feast to his family and friends. He literally burned his bridges back to the past. He was following God without an exit strategy, which is an excellent example for all of us.
As we move into the final month of this year (hard to believe it’s here already) and Lord willing, prepare to move into a new year, let me encourage you to follow God faithfully, passionately, enthusiastically, purposefully and without an exit strategy. In fact, let me encourage you to do everything you do that way. Be an overcomer, not someone who is always overwhelmed. Be a conqueror, not a quitter. Be someone who finishes what they start. Someone who is faithful to the end rather than someone who is flaky and fizzles out.
Like Cortez and Elisha, if you’ll eliminate the possibility of exit strategies, you’ll be surprised at the success you see. However, if you continue to embrace exit strategies, don’t be surprised when success has an exit strategy of its own.
© 2014. Barry L. Cameron
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Today, more than 8,000 people call Crossroads their church home. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.