Guidelines International Ministries

April 29, 2022

How Do I Know When It Is Time To Quit?

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven… a time to search and a time to give up.  Ecclesiastes 3:1,6

How do you know when to say, “when!”  How do you know when it’s time to hang it up and quit?  Do you grit your teeth and say, “They will have to take me out feet first,” or do you see the handwriting on the wall, and you know it’s time to say, “when?”  Do you grasp the golden parachute, as they call a good retirement in business, or do you wait until they give you ten minutes to clean out your desk and a security guard walks you to the door and you are history?

Tommy Lasorda, who managed the Dodgers inimitable baseball team for two decades, wrote his autobiography and he talked about the day he would have to quit.  He said, “Someday, I realize, I’ll have to go, too.  I’ll sit in the clubhouse knowing I’m taking off the uniform I love so much for the final time.  And it’ll hurt to see me go most of all.”

Eleven years later, Lasorda who was a loving dynamo of energy and a lovable dad as well as a very savvy manager, was rushed to the hospital with a heart attack.  After several weeks of recuperation, with strobe lights flashing and TV cameras grinding away at the news conference, Lasorda said it was best for both him and the organization for him to step down.  His voice broke with emotions, and the great season of Lasorda baseball was over.

For Lasorda, a heart attack was a wake-up call, a clear indication that it was time to put an end to an illustrious career, play some golf, spend time with his wife, and to enjoy the grandchildren.  But for a lot of people, the end doesn’t come that way.  It comes with a pink slip in the pay envelope, or an uncomfortable meeting with the director of human resources who informs you that your services are no longer needed in the company.  You are history.

“I’m not going to wait until I get fired.  I’ll beat ’em to the draw,” you say. Just a minute!  A lot of people “jump the gun.”  They quit before it is time–pastors, business people, secretaries, school teachers, even ditch diggers.  They get hurt feelings, annoyed, irritated, and tired–certainly, tired and tense.  And they quit.

The following four guidelines will help you know when it is time to say “when.”   Guideline #1:  It’s time to say “when” when timing, not emotions, drives your decision.  If your decision to quit is motivated by a personality conflict, by a single misunderstanding, by a feeling of inadequacy, or by a few discouraging days, you are probably making a mistake.  If a team manager quit the first time he had a losing season, few would survive.  Remember, in sports for every winner, there has to be a loser.

Guideline #2:  It’s time when you see trends which are clearly established.   Success is never final and failure is never fatal.  There are seasons to life and having the good sense to know when they come is wisdom.

A pattern clearly established is often one of the ways that God uses to help you know when it’s time to say “when.”

Guideline #3:  It’s time when your decision is confirmed by neutral, caring friends who will be honest with you.  Talk over your option with someone who is neutral, and then carefully evaluate the advice you get.

Guideline #4:  It’s time when you openly and sincerely make the situation a matter of prayer, asking God to guide you and give you sense a witness in your heart that the time has come.

Long ago God promised, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go. I will guide you with my eye upon you.” (Psalm 32:8). That promise is still valid today.  He should always be consulted when you are considering when to say “when.”

Resource reading: Ecclesiastes 3:1-12.