Mar 13, 2020
Many of you have seen the 1985 Cold War classic, Rocky IV. In the film, the Soviet Union’s top boxer enters professional boxing with national champion, Ivan Drago, who initially wants to take on World champion Rocky Balboa. Former champ Apollo Creed takes the fight instead but is fatally beaten in the ring after Rocky refuses to throw in the towel. Enraged, Rocky decides to fight Drago in the Soviet Union to avenge the death of his friend and defend the honor of his country. The rest is epic man movie history!
Quitters Never Win
I despise quitting and quitters are people I struggle to respect. As a middle school young man my life was changed when, taped to Coach’s office window, I read, “Quitters never win. Winners never quit.” It became my compass.
Today I live by the motto, “You don’t have to be the best. You simply have to outlast the rest.” This has held true for our organization, Men in the Arena, which started as 15 men in a coffee shop and has grown to men from 90 nations, who are being discipled through in our ministry on some level.
Cloud Peak Here I Come
Which is why I’m returning to the Bighorn Range’s tallest mountain, Cloud Peak, in August 2020 after throwing in the towel 1000 vertical feet from the summit last August.
Followers of Jesus should model their lives after the Savior who said, "My food," said Jesus, "is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work. (John 4:34)”
This summer I will sit victoriously on the summit of Cloud Peak and thank Jesus who sits at the right hand of God, who died for my sins (1 Peter 3:18) with a warrior shout and exclamation mark (John 19:30, NASB).
But that’s not what we are here to talk about. There is a season for everything and as much as I don’t want to admit it—yes—there is a time to quit. In Ecclesiastes 3 :1 we read, “There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every event under heaven.”
So, when do we throw in the towel?
When is it okay?
When does it honor God?
Dad Tired Dude
I recently interviewed founder of Dad Tired, Jerrad Lopes, about his latest book, Dad Tired and Loving it: Stumbling Your Way to Spiritual Leadership. In it he tells the story of getting lost on the way to Aspen, Colorado and heading towards Lincoln, Nebraska!
Reflecting he writes:
Getting to the Aspen that God has called you to will require you to say no to a lot of things. It will mean giving up some things—even good things—so that you can say yes to the great things. It will mean sacrificing time with your friends. Giving up on some of your lifelong dreams. Choosing to get paid less. Laying down addictions that have tripped you up for years. Pursuing the heart of your kids even when they seem ungrateful and have no idea how much you’ve sacrificed.
Good, Better, Best
When is it time to quit, throw in the towel, or tap out? When does quitting honor God?
When what we are doing is not God’s best for us and does not disobey a Biblical mandate to leave it behind. When something—possibly a good thing—hinders us from doing and becoming our best version in Jesus.
I highly recommend a message I gave from Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.”
Maybe it’s quitting time for you.