When to Leave and When to Remain

My brother, father and myself often entered redfish fishing tournaments when I lived near Destin, FL several years ago. On a particularly good day, in a particularly good spot, seagulls circled overhead looking for an easy meal as we threw dead bait out into the water. One seagull circled our boat too closely and, as my brother cast his live minnow into the air, the line wrapped around the seagull’s neck. Plummeting to the ground, the seagull created quite a ruckus before settling—the minnow still dangling about two feet away from the seagull as the line remained wrapped around the gull. As we devised a plan to rescue to the bird, a huge pelican began circling the boat, and sure enough, did a nosedive and scooped up the minnow, which was attached to the seagull, which was attached to my brother’s line. Now, we had a hot mess—pelican hooked to minnow, minnow hooked to line, line wrapped around gull. The best we could do in that situation was to cut the line and try to paddle over to the birds. As we did, the pelican thrust into the air, dragging the seagull with it, bouncing it upon the water every few feet as it tried to get lift, flying off into the distance a few feet from the ground. This actually happened; we were both stunned.

I suppose the moral of the story is that the easy meal is not always the best.

Like a seagull looking for an easy meal, doubtless you’ve had circumstances where it would have been easy to take the next exit out of a tough situation, and sometimes that’s best, especially in situations that are immoral, unethical, abusive or illegal. Other times, however, it’s easy to opt out too early, to take the path of least resistance, to take the easy meal that ends up costing you in the long run.

Often we interpret opportunities to escape a tough job, a dry season, or irritable circumstances as God’s will for our lives. In my experience, most people just end up looking for an easy out in their next situation after they opted out of the last situation because it was tough. The common factor is easy to spot—wherever you go; there you are. Resist the easy meal. Perhaps one day it’ll be time to dive in elsewhere. Seasons change, and the day will arrive when it's time to leave, but it won't be because things are simply tough, but because you know in your gut it's time to move on to your next assignment. Until then, remain, grow, persist, and you’ll be better for it in the long run.

I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

- St. Paul; Philippians 4:11-13 ESV