I have a personal philosophy that I try my best to live by. Whenever asked to do something, I always say no first! This is followed by a simple statement that I will however pray about it and get back to them. And for those of you who feel guilty saying no, let me assure no one has ever assaulted me, ministries have not come to a screeching halt due to my lack of involvement in them, and the world is not radically different as a result of this no. Now, there are exceptions to this (as with everything), times I will say yes immediately. For the big things, the things that will involve time and energy on my part, I pray about.
So, why is saying yes too often dangerous? It is dangerous for the simple reason that yes can cause us to get spread too thin, our families are not given the attention and time they need, perhaps this is not our gifting, maybe our yes will keep someone who should be doing it from getting the blessing of serving, and ministries that are run by people who don't really want to be there will suffer.
When we were children we were good at saying no. It seems the entire year of the terrific 2's is devoted to the word no. When we were little we didn't feel guilty about saying no, if we didn't want to do something we would dig our heels in and say no! So why is it so hard for us to say no as adults, when does this change? I believe guilt and comparison are our two worst enemies to the ability to say no.
Guilt is sometimes used as a recruiting tool. We start to feel bad that nobody is stepping up so we say yes. We often say yes without even realizing that we are already overextended, overtaxed and overtired. Then once we are involved guilt creeps back in, we then feel guilty for neglecting other things; our family, our other ministries, our sleep.
Comparison is subtle, but just as dangerous as guilt. We see someone in the church who is involved in everything and we see that we have just one area where are involved in. Soon we begin thinking this person is more spiritual than we are, so we begin to say yes. We should never compare our involvement to others' involvement. We don't answer to anyone but God for what we do. If has gifted you and given you a passion for one area of ministry, then do it! You will be serving God in the way He desires you to!
No is a powerful word, but it can be dangerous as well. Your no's are only powerful if you are also able to use the word yes. They are a pair, they need to be balanced. So say no first, but pray for God to show you when to say yes. Imagine if we all did this; the church would be full of people serving where God wants them to served. People would be leading more balanced lives, they would be joyful and those they are serving will benefit as well.
What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ And he answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went. And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.”
But above all, my brothers, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or by any other oath, but let your “yes” be yes and your “no” be no, so that you may not fall under condemnation.