The Day I Quit My Job to Follow Christ

The last poker room I worked in. River City Casino - St. Louis

The last poker room I worked in. River City Casino - St. Louis

I spent six months as a new believer before God asked me to quit my financially rewarding full time job as a poker dealer to start a ministry with no expected income. I can remember being as excited as someone who won a sweepstakes while also being as dejected as someone whose significant other had just cheated on them.

My mind and my heart were in a battle of wills. Who would win?

In one corner was my mind, weighing the responsibilities of paying rent and utilities against wanting to follow God’s plan.  Mentally, I struggled wrapping my mind around the actual decision before me to quit one job with the security of a paycheck to chase a calling where no paycheck was promised.

I had worked for a paycheck ever since I got a work permit at 14 and manned the cashier counter at the famously Christian company Chick-Fil-A on the weekends. I wasn’t a Christian at the time but was surrounded by other believers who talked about Jesus all the time. I hated that those conversations as a teenager.  Ironically, I was now being asked to start a new job as an adult where talking about Jesus wasn’t just part of the job, it was the job!

On the opposite side of the ring was my heart – which was recently filled with the Holy Spirit and able to discern the will of God in my life.  I had been praying for some time for God to reveal His plans and purpose to my life.  God had answered my prayer when He revealed the plans for me to launch and run Testimony House ministries.  Learning my God-given purpose filled my heart to the brim with the love of Christ.

I had never known I was special. I was told as a child that you could grow up and do great things, but no one was ever specific in what those things should be.  As an adult, when I chased my own goals and was trying to fulfill my own purpose I found addiction, heartbreak and frustration at every turn, but at least I had a paycheck!

In the early rounds, my mind was ahead of my heart in the scorecard. God asked me to quit my job on March 22nd, 2013 and throughout April I had stayed employed. My mind handedly fought the idea of quitting my paycheck job to start God’s job by stoking the fire of fear with loss. The loss of possessions, my car or a place to live were prominent thoughts in my life in that time.  When I shared the idea of leaving my job with my mom she expressed that I would be, “destitute.” That was a word that scared me and still echoes in my mind at times years later.

One day, thankfully and without warning, my heart would get some help it needed to conquer my mind. 

This picture was taken from my car the day I quit my job.

This picture was taken from my car the day I quit my job.

On a drive into work I heard a preacher on the radio exclaim, “If God has asked you to quit you job, you need to do it!” I was intrigued, I had never heard a message directed at my current circumstances like that from a preacher before. When I looked up from the radio, I saw a commercial truck with the word FAITH in bold letters attached to the back panel.  The verse Philippians 4:13 etched above.  I had never seen a Bible verse or a directive of Christian action painted on a commercial truck. I was struck by the uniqueness of what was happening and began to pray for God to increase my faith.

When I arrived at the parking lot of the casino, I received a call from my best friend Kevin who said, “God told me He has been telling you to quit your job and that you can come live with me rent free.”  Whoa! Without warning, in just a few minutes God had spoken to me through a message, shown me a Scripture to encourage me and allowed another believer to confirm what I already knew was true. God wanted me to step out into my plans and purpose.

As grateful and full of faith as I was in that moment, I decided to not walk into work and resign. Instead I went about my day working and thinking about what had happened that morning. Then, my stubborn mind wanted another shot to defeat my heart and convinced me to ask God for one more sign, thinking that He wouldn’t do it.  So, in my mind I prayed something like, “God I believe you have shown me enough but could you please say one more thing to convince me to quit my job and follow you because I am having a hard time going through with it.”

Immediately as those thoughts entered my head, a man directly across from me at a poker table filled with guests who were in the middle of a game said to me, “John, when are you going to quit your job?” I stopped and tried to take stock of the situation. I asked this man, who I knew nothing of and who knew nothing of me, “What made you say that?” He responded, “It looked like you were thinking of something, I thought that was it.”

That one moment included everything my heart needed to defeat my mind. I have never experienced a moment so unique and supernatural before or since. That entire day, filled with encouragement from the Lord, culminated with a knockout blow to my mind that allowed me to be filled with the faith to start truly fulfilling my purpose. I got up from the table and put in my notice. I had a new job to do.

Would you like to read more about John’s journey of passion, vision and faith in 2019?

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