The Value of Staying Put
Why “stick-to-itiveness” is vital in a world that emphasizes short-term commitment
by Verda Rubottom / November 21, 2017
“We live in a world that emphasizes short-term commitments and where endurance is not a requirement.”
We’ve all been tempted to quit when the road seems all uphill and we encounter one obstacle after another. I remember one such day in my early ministry when I was walking across a college campus in a heavy rain, utterly discouraged. I had just learned that many of my credits from a California college would not be accepted in Oregon, where we had moved. After a significant investment of time and finances in my education, I wondered if a college degree was really in God’s will.
My goal was to better prepare myself for the children’s ministry I was involved in then and for the future, but doubts crept in each time I had setbacks that seemed beyond my control. I knew God had called me, but was there a better way, an easier way? As the rain poured down on that gloomy day, I asked the Lord if I should continue. Sometimes answers to our prayers take time, but in that very moment the answer came simply and clearly: Yes, I should continue; I was on the right path.
What I didn’t realize at the time was that this temporary setback was actually preparing me for future ministry. God wanted me to be ready to face the challenges ahead with faith and perseverance. But His plans for me would not come to fruition if I gave up too early. It would take years to reach my goal, and God used this trying experience to teach me the value of long-term commitment.
We live in a world that emphasizes short-term commitments and where endurance is not a requirement. In the church, we often ask people to serve for brief periods of time because of a shortage of volunteers. Certainly, there’s a place for short-term assignments; but an effective children’s ministry can’t reach its potential based on temporary assignments alone.
We need a core of committed workers who can go the distance—and that starts with the leadership. Leaders must be building for the future, not just the urgent needs of today. If you’re in a difficult season, and obstacles seem to block your vision, consider the value of staying put, spending time in prayer, and then looking to the future in faith to see what God can do right where you are.
Here are some key principles to remember:
- A vision takes time to develop and grow to its full potential.
- A foundation is the most important part of building; it takes time to get it right.
- God put you there for a reason. Your ministry team needs you. The children need you.
- You can be an example of stability and faithfulness to the families in your church. Your willingness to dig in your heels for the long term will inspire others to do the same.
- You’ll grow spiritually and be stronger for whatever God has for you in the future.
- Completing your assignment, according to God’s timetable (not yours!) is always best.
- People are following you and will remember your example in the years to come.
- Your optimism for the future and a thriving children’s ministry will be contagious and will spread throughout your church. Remember, its God working through you that will enable you to accomplish what seems impossible now. “The One who calls you is faithful, and he will do it” (1 Thessalonians 5:24, NIV).