A famous poem reminds the servant of God not to quit. Although the author is unknown, its message speaks to the heart of every church planter. I will not alter the poem, but if you substituted “preach on” for “don’t quit” it would remind us of our sacred responsibility to continue preaching even when it is difficult to do so. The poem is as follows:
When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest, if you must, but don’t you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about,
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow—
You may succeed with another blow.
Often the goal is nearer than,
It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up,
When he might have captured the victor’s cup,
And he learned too late when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.
Success is failure turned inside out—
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It may be near when it seems so far,
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit—
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.
In college or seminary a preacher can study and learn all the issues of pastoring a church, but not until he is actively in the pulpit will he realize the difficult challenge to teach and lead a congregation. There will be times you pour your heart out through a sermon in hope of effecting change in your congregation only to realize it is received with indifference. Even though you were confident your sermon would help your members, they did not take it to heart. What do you do when you believe you have done all you can do and no one responds? Preach on! Just go back to the study and prepare again and preach again with hopes of God effecting a change through your next sermon.
When trials arise and you are physically, emotionally, and spiritually troubled it is important that you just preach on! When it seems there is no progress and you have done all you can do with little or no results, just preach on!
There will be times of great blessing when the Spirit of God moves in the service, but there will also be times when it seems God is far away. We must remember it is the difficult times that mature us. It is through difficulty and struggle that we hone our skills and occasionally God takes us to the backside of the desert where we learn lessons that can be learned no other way.
If we remain faithful to the task God has given us we will eventually reap the blessings afforded by God. “When things go wrong as they sometimes will,” we must preach on if we are to win the victor’s crown. We know God can take a little and make much of it.
So, when you come to a difficult place in your ministry, just peach on! Who knows what God will do if we remain faithful?
“In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine hand: for thou knowest not whether shall prosper, either this or that, or whether they both shall be alike good.”—Ecclesiastes 11:6