Quiet quitting is a phrase that rose in popularity at the beginning of this year, mainly through a viral video on TikTok. Quiet quitting is the idea that you do the bare minimum that your job requires. You don’t go above and beyond. You don’t complete any unpaid tasks and you draw strict boundaries around your work and personal life. Many see it as a positive move to shift the thinking that ties our sense of worth so strongly to our work, and to protect wellbeing and prevent burnout. The phrase began describing a movement in the workplace, but now is also sometimes used outside it.
There are other areas of my life where I can sometimes see myself take a quiet quitting approach. Namely, dinner on Friday night. Friday nights in our household are a crazy coming and going of children from after school activities to their evening youth group. The window I have to feed everyone concurrently is approximately 27 seconds. So I quit doing it. It’s now called Fend-For-Yourself-Friday. I make sure there is enough bread for toasties and 2-minute noodles stocked in the cupboard and then I just don’t bother. Some school P&Cs have also made changes for the quiet quitters amongst us. Now, when buying a ticket to the painful trivia night/themed disco/walkathon they will have a listed ticket option to just donate the money for the pleasure of not having to attend.
But I wonder if we are in danger of transferring our quiet quitting approach to our faith? Do we approach our Christian walk thinking about what’s the bare minimum we can do? Do we adopt the quiet quitting approach of what is the least amount of effort I can put towards my godliness? The other day in a Christian bookshop I was browsing through the teen devotionals. There were books titled as 5-minute, 3-minute and even 1-minute devotions. I wondered what this vision of reading the Word was we are selling our kids: is it our aim to get it over as quickly as we can each day? Friends I have chatted to from various churches have all spoken about how since the pandemic, a number of the people in their congregations have chosen to stay online rather than come back to church. After all, it is much more convenient to watch church when it suits you. But what of the loss of precious fellowship and encouragement that comes from actually, physically meeting together and living our faith out together?
In 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 Paul writes: 24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.
It’s hard to imagine an Olympic athlete quiet quitting. They wouldn’t make it if they did. To have the mindset of an Olympian is to value discipline and effort and single-mindedness. They don’t approach their training figuring out the least amount of work they can do to get by. Just so the Christian, Paul argues. As we seek to live as saved and beloved children, we will give our every effort to the task of putting on the new self and growing in Christlikeness and giving glory to our Lord. As we run this race God has set before us let’s not fall into the trap of doing the least we can to get by. Let’s not ask: What’s the bare minimum I can do as a Christian? But instead, as we run, let’s consider: What will best grow me in godliness? What will help me love Jesus more? What can I do with my time now that won’t be wasted in eternity? What will help me better serve and love those around me? And then let’s not quit, but run towards that prize.