The Ministry of ‘NO

I used to have anxiety as a kid when my friend would ask me to spend the night at his house. I knew my parents. I couldn’t just spring this request on them. I needed 2-4 business days to prepare my argument as to why I should be allowed to stay overnight. In my house even just going to the park to play for the afternoon was a challenge. I couldn’t just leave. I had to clean something in exchange for my absence.

Staying overnight was on another level. I was used to it, but still anxious overhearing the word “No”. I begged my friend, “Please just ask my mother if I can spend the night.” This is not common at his house. “Why do I have to ask her, she is your mom”, he asked. “It’s because she won’t say no to you!”, I replied in exasperation.

This system we had almost always worked.

The importance of ‘NO’

That word ‘NO‘ is so important in a person’s life. I am not talking about the ones out there who have no problem saying it. Mean people have mastered this. I am talking about us nice folks who just want to help out as much as possible but find it very difficult to grasp the ministry of ‘NO‘. This is where us nice people allow our congeniality to override common sense. We do it to ourselves. I can’t be the victim and then say, “I don’t understand why this car is going so fast”, with my foot pressed firmly on the accelerator.

Saying ‘YES‘ to everyone is not good, especially when you are just doing it to appear good in their eyes. You feel depleted, exhausted, and even feel like everyone depends on you. Everyone calls on you but only a few appreciate you. We bring this on ourselves because we helped create that culture that no one could possibly maintain for long.

The bible talks about reasonable service. Romans 12:1:

“Therefore I exhort you, brothers and sisters, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a sacrifice–alive, holy, and pleasing to God—which is your reasonable service.”

Another version says “logical service”. Not leading this type of life will find you aggressively trying to get 8-hours of sleep in 4-hours. It just doesn’t make sense.

How do we go about reasonable service to God, our families, and to our jobs? By pruning. John 15:2:

“Every branch in me that doe not bear fruit, He takes away, and every branch that bears fruit he prunes it so it may bear more fruit.”

You can’t be involved in every project, every sport, and every function. Everything you enjoy isn’t something you should be doing. Being a spectator is OK. Even God took a break. He created some stuff one day, then stopped, and continued the next day and at the end of the week, he rested. Regularly, you have to shut the engine off and rest.

If you do not pick a time to relax your body will pick one for you and it will be very inconvenient. Don’t get carried away though because too much resting is just being lazy. God called us to reasonable service. Your husband or wife needs to hear ‘NO‘. Your kids need to hear ‘NO‘. Your family and best friends need to hear ‘NO‘. You even need to tell yourself ‘NO‘ from time to time. Don’t turn into that mean person that just randomly says ‘NO‘ before even considering what it is that is being asked of you. Ask God for wisdom to guide you into reasonable service and your ministry will become exponentially better. Learn the ministry of ‘NO‘, and it will make you’re ‘YES‘ so much more meaningful.

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