It's Okay to Say No


Yet the news about him spread all the more, so that

crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sickness. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.

- Luke 5:15-16

Imagine traveling for days on foot - trudging through the elements while carrying a family member so sick that they’re clinging to life by a thread. You’re walking toward a man that can heal the sick and raise the dead. A man named Jesus.

You finally arrive at the place where He’s thought to be. You’re exhausted but hopeful for healing. A large crowd of people is gathered. But Jesus - the Healer - is nowhere to be found. Where could He be? Will He make it in time?

A few hours later, you find out He’s a few miles away, resting with His disciples. Disappointment courses through your body. Even a little bit of anger. This man with so much power is choosing to rest when he could be healing. He’s choosing to say no when He could be saying yes.

On a daily basis, we sit at the same crossroads Jesus did. We are constantly confronted with choices for how to spend our time. Deciding whether to say yes or no. To raise our hand or keep it in our laps. To sign up or let the list pass us by.

As Christians, it’s easy for us to feel obligated to say yes to everything. We want to be helpful. We want to put our gifts to use. We want to please. It feels good to be the person everyone can count on. I know because I’ve tried so hard to be that person.

I thought by saying yes my whole life I was glorifying Him but, in reality, I was only fueling my own pride and ultimately driving myself to stress, anxiety, resentment, and burnout. In other words, I was trading my long-term physical and spiritual health for a short-term pat on the back.

But Jesus knew better. He knew that He had to set healthy boundaries in order to carry out the plans His Father had for Him. As difficult as it was, He had to say no at times in order to have fuel in His tank for a much bigger yes. A yes that would save millions of people for all of eternity.

So, if we were sitting together today enjoying a warm cup of coffee, I would tell you one simple thing: It’s OK to say no. It’s OK to follow God’s plans instead of people’s plans. It’s OK to prioritize the long-term over the short-term and the eternal over the earthly.

Reflection

1. Do you struggle to say no? What’s at the root of this struggle?

2. What is one area of your life that could look more like Christ’s if you said no more often?

Prayer

Dear Lord, Thank You for giving us Jesus as the ultimate example to live by. Like Him, give us the wisdom and strength to set healthy boundaries and say no at the right times. Help us remember that saying yes and pleasing people isn’t always what’s best for the Kingdom. Be with us as we make decisions this week, Amen.

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