By Janet Sauder
Several foundational truths have served as cornerstones of my faith walk over the years. Each was learned through a specific life-changing experience.
The cost of quitting is greater than the cost of continuing the course
This became revelation to me one day in Scotland as I was taking time alone with the Lord. It was a season when I felt it was hard, too hard, to obey and continue serving. Things were uncomfortable and uncertain. I had to re-evaluate the standards I would use for friendships and morals, as these standards were part and parcel of my commitment to Christ. I realized that quitting was not an option; it was not the price I was willing to pay.
I will always say “yes” when God asks something of me. I made this decision early in life. It could be a mission, an idea that I know is God-inspired, a task I am being requested to do or an opportunity to be obedient. If I am sure it is God, I will say “yes.” This decision has definitely been tested over the years. I remember vividly one occasion when I was seated on a bus feeling very apprehensive. We were headed to the airport, headed to the Dominican Republic, with a group of health care workers among whom I knew no one. It would have been so easy to back out of that strenuous experience, but my obedience was rewarded as I was able to help stamp out blindness through helping with cataract surgery.
Seek first the Kingdom
Matthew 6:33 has become a powerful life verse for me. “But, seek first his kingdom and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well.” My part is to seek first His Kingdom! God does not need my help, worries, reminders or record-keeping of the things I have done for Him. This truth was planted deep in my heart—though I have to remind myself of this resolve from time to time in my journey with the Lord.
This revelation came to my husband and me in the first few months of our marriage. We will cover a greater distance, last longer and accomplish more if we pace ourselves. A marathon runner can go a lot further than a sprinter. Our goal was to serve our Lord all of our lives and not quit, burn out, become bitter or drop out of the race. II Timothy 4:7 says, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” My aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.
Stay the course
My husband and I started serving with youth in our local church when our oldest child was twelve years old and ready to participate in youth group. At that time, there was a need for helpers and leadership. My husband was a youth pastor when we married and I too had worked with teens from the time I graduated from high school. We love youth and the energy and life they bring. We made ourselves available to be helpers and do whatever we could. As the number of youth grew, we separated the middle school and high school groups. We led the younger youth for a number of years. And a few years later, we led the whole team of youth leaders for middle and high school. We eventually trained up leaders who replaced us, but it took time—many years! Our leaders were from among those who had been in 6th grade when we first separated middle school and high school youth.
People have often asked us for advice on how to lead a successful youth group. The first thing that comes to my mind is: Don’t quit! My husband and I have had such joy seeing youth grow up in love with the Lord. Many are now serving our local church and the Body of Christ at large. But it didn’t happen quickly. We served for many years until it was clear who would take our place. When we started, we had no idea we were embarking on journey that would take much of our focus and energy for over sixteen years.
Only you will know exactly what the Lord is asking you to do or to persist with. Sometimes it is a task that requires immediate obedience; other times we are called to a lifestyle of obedience. The key is to stay the course until God shows you that you have accomplished what He had for you to do.
The world’s amazing game changers did just this–they stayed the course, didn’t get mad, bitter, disillusioned or quit, but took one day at a time. I am inspired to move forward and trust God to use my life for His glory. You too could be a world changer! Be obedient to what God is telling you to do. God will give you stamina and renew your vision as you pursue His purposes with all your heart.
About Janet Sauder
Janet Sauder is a member of the DOVE International Apostolic Council. She and her husband give oversight to DOVE churches and leaders in Canada, India, South Africa and the USA. Janet is passionate about the family of God and her natural family. More about Janet here