Most people give up too soon. As a matter of fact, many give up even before they begin. They have a plan to quit. It's called an exit strategy; a common, acceptable reality of the politically correct times in which we live, even though the consequences of such actions have been proven again and again to be destructive both to ourselves and our contemporary culture.
Rather than being the result of prudent planning and careful calculation, exit strategies, in far too many cases, have become one of the more deadly and damaging decisions one can ever make. Why? Because your success is strangled from the start when you have a prearranged plan to quit.
For example, a prenuptial agreement signed before a wedding so each person can protect, and hopefully get back, what is rightfully theirs when the marriage goes bad. 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, take some incredibly good advice and find yourself another fiancé.)
Exit strategies will stymie your success.
In Mark Batterson’s bestselling book, ALL IN, “On February 19, 1519 the Spanish explorer Hernán Cortés set sail for Mexico with an entourage of 11 ships, 13 horses, 110 sailors, and 553 soldiers. The indigenous population upon his arrival was approximately five million. From a purely mathematical standpoint, the odds were stacked against him by a ratio of 7,541 to 1. Two previous expeditions had failed to even establish a settlement in the New World, yet Cortés conquered much of the South American continent.”
“What Cortés is reported to have done after landing is an epic tale of mythic proportions. He issued an order that returned his mission into an all-or-nothing proposition: Burn the ships! As his crew watched their fleet of ships burn and sink, they came to terms with the fact retreat was not an option.”1
No exit strategy. History reveals, as a result of what Cortés did, they achieved a great victory.
Jesus didn’t encourage exit strategies. Luke records Jesus saying just the opposite, “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. In Galatians 6:9, he encouraged just the opposite. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
Ever wonder why some churches, Christians, marriages, businesses and people get into trouble and fall apart? This is going to 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.
Friend, you can help yourself to the harvest simply by just staying at your post, sticking to what you know is right, and remaining 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 it to the people. He literally burned his bridges. He was following God without an exit strategy, which is an excellent example for all of us.
You and I should follow God without an exit strategy. In fact, we should do everything we do that way. Be conquerors, not quitters. People who finish and are faithful to the end rather than people who are flaky and fizzle out before the task is done.
Like Cortez and Elisha, if you and I eliminate the possibility of exit strategies in our lives and ministries, we’ll be surprised at the success we’ll see. The Bible calls it a “harvest.”
To those who are consistently faithful, Jesus says, “Help yourself”(Matthew 25:21).
1 ALL IN by Mark Batterson. © 2013. Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530. Pg. 51.
© 2016. Barry L. Cameron
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. 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.