I’m Not Giving Up On You!

I don’t know if someone spoke those words to you, but they are powerful. They are a statement of support. They say, “Regardless of how bad you get, how far you go, I’m standing by you.”

In ministry, we have those moments. Whether it’s that one Core Member you need to let go of because they need some time to grow or that teen that always seems to find your last nerve. Can you stand and fight for them? Can you say, “I’m not giving up on you”?

That’s tough because it doesn’t always mean letting people remain where they are or staying in a toxic relationship. It doesn’t mean ignoring their behavior. It means we want what is best for a person’s sanctity, and we strive to find it.

That is Moses from the first reading this week (Ex 32:7-11, 13-14). The people have turned from God and are literally worshipping something else. Even the leaders turned. Moses was the only faithful one. Moses who spoke with God as a friend then does something incredible: He pleads mercy for the people. He won’t give up on them.

God promises to make Moses a great nation. God says He will still bless Moses but not the people. But Moses stands firm. Don’t give up on them. Let me walk with them further. Let me help them turn back to you.

I don’t know if I could do this. I don’t know if I could turn down the blessing to stand with the sinner, the least, and the lost. I’m more like the older brother in the Gospel (Luke 15:1-32), angry at the blessing shown to people I feel don’t deserve it. It’s because I need to conform my heart to God’s heart. I’m still working on it.

But Moses’ heart already was conformed. God wasn’t going to give up on the people. He is the Father that runs after the prodigal son. He is the merciful one that sends His only Son to die for us. But He did test Moses. He wants to know if the heart of Moses is conformed to His heart. Moses passes; would you?

It is easier to give up. It is simpler to write the people we serve off. It is easy because we don’t need to walk the walk. We don’t need to get messy or frustrated. But we are called to more. We are called to those simple words: I’m not giving up on you!

About the Author

Joel Stepanek

I spent most of my 8th grade year in detention because there wasn’t a dare I wouldn’t accept. But in high school, my youth minister dared me to follow Christ and I haven’t looked back. I love all things Wisconsin, especially the Green Bay Packers. I can probably eat more cheese than you. (Please don’t dare me to prove it.) Follow me on Twitter and Instagram at @LT_Jstepanek.

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