Good day friends! I pray your week and weekend went well!
So how did your time of reflection go this past week? Were you able to consider those interests and abilities with which God has blessed you? Are you asking yourself, “where am I going to find the time?”, “this is a need, but it really is not something I feel God guiding me to do, even after I have prayerfully and honestly considered serving in this capacity. But do I still say ‘yes’? I can’t say ‘no, can I?” … Oh yes you can! And you can say ‘no’ with a clear conscience too!
Let’s top up our coffee’s and peel this layer away….
Sometimes it’s No
All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one. Matthew 5:37
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. 1 Corinthians 12: 4-6, 12-14
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10
How hard is it for you to say ‘no’? For most of us, we feel by saying ‘no’ that people will see us as being weak or not very accommodating. So, we say ‘yes’ to helping on school boards, more work in the office, coaching another season and the requests continue. Although others may see us as ‘Super Heros’, this is not a healthy way of living. It only leads to burnout, a deprived family, and bitterness. This frantic pace is not at all how God desires us to live our lives.
This feeling of needing to say ‘yes’ is especially present within the church. We can be bombarded with requests to help at an event, lead a devotion, make sandwiches, be on a committee, and the requests go on and on and on. Therefore, when it comes to serving the church, it is so easy to become bitter and burned out. There are so many jobs and so few people willing to serve. Many times we feel we just need to keep saying ‘yes’ to duties; if I don’t do it, who will? What will the other members think if I don’t do it? Again, these ways of thinking are not healthy or beneficial for anyone, and certainly are not the mindset God wants us to have towards serving in His Church and His children. In fact, it is quite a self-centred thing, and a tactic satan uses to keep us from focussing on what is really important.
Despite what satan would have us believe, if something is to happen in the church, than God will raise up the workers to do the work, and if there are no other workers for the task, then perhaps it is something that is not meant to occur at that point in time. Satan would love for us to be run ragged, bitter, non-joyful and cranky with each other. However, clearly these attitudes are not God’s desires for His Church, as they keep the light of Christ hidden and reflect poorly His love for us and others, not to mention, inhibit the nurturing of our own relationship with the Lord. Therefore, it is important to give yourself boundaries and guidelines, like the ones in the previous devotion, especially taking each request to serve the Lord in prayer, and, if need be, get used to saying ‘no’ guilt-free. Saying ‘no’ is not a bad thing. On the contrary, it is an honest statement when said after an honest time of prayer and self-reflection. Therefore, let not your ‘no’ be meant as an easy response because you just don’t want to be bothered, but an honest response guided by the Lord’s nudging. If the answer is ‘no’ to one area, he may be guiding you towards another area of service. You just need to be honest and open to his gentle nudges.
Finally, pray for all the members and families of your congregation to seek to build a strong relationship with the Lord and to be open to fulfilling the duties that God may be calling them to do. If each member of His Body is doing his/her part, than we can trust that God is fulfilling those things He has prepared in advance for you, us, his church to do.
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, There are so many things to do. Help me to be honest about the things I should add to my daily schedule and those that would inhibit my time with you, my family and my other responsibilities. For those things I am not able to do now, which may include taking something from my current tasks, please give me the courage to say ‘no’. Open my eyes and heart to joyfully serve in the church and in all aspects of my life that You have prepared for me to do. Please do not let my sinfulness keep me from fulfilling what you would have me do. Please be with all the members of my congregation to seek You, and to have honest and willing hearts open to serve in all the tasks You have prepared for each of them. Help me to be loving and understanding when others say ‘no’, and to trust that you are guiding them too. In Jesus’ name alone! AMEN
Reflection: Do you have a hard time saying ‘no’? Are you doing things in the church or in some aspect of your life, where you are feeling guilt-ridden or bitter towards it? Have you been recently asked to be part of something? Do you feel a need to serve, in some aspect, in the church? Take each of these responses, individually, to the Lord. Lift them to Him and let Him guide your thoughts and heart. Just like any conversations with a good friend, He will help you come to a resolve. Be patient, listen and be attentive as he guides you and answers directly to you and/or through others in your life.