“…pray without ceasing…” 1 Thess. 5:17
NO! A sweet friend told me one day. My friend is a loving, compassionate, godly, giving, and generous woman who is continually finding opportunities to love and serve the Lord and others. I had presented her with a wonderful opportunity to help me with something that probably would have taken no more than an hour or two every month. She would have been a big help to me, but most importantly she would have been serving the Lord with that opportunity, not to mention through her help facilitating the serving of hundreds of people in need. How, and why then, could she possibly say NO!?
The answer is plain and simple, and there may well lie herein a message for you. Her NO! had nothing to do with the amount of time involved. The time committed would have been minimal. Her NO! had nothing to do with the nature of the opportunity and its value. The opportunity would clearly have been in service to the Lord and to others. Her NO! had nothing to do with me. Her NO! had everything to do with the Lord!
My friend had said NO! because her decision was NOT about pleasing herself, me, or others. Her decision came because she did something which to me was wonderfully refreshing when I presented the opportunity to her. She refused to answer. Instead, she said she would PRAY. So she did. And when she believed the Lord had spoken to her heart in response, she obeyed Him. She said NO!
How many of us, I wonder, myself included, have said YES! to opportunities, jumping impulsively and headlong into them, because we didn’t SEEK the Lord, WAIT on the Lord, HEAR the Lord who always speaks in line with His Word, and OBEY the Lord even at the expense of disappointing ourselves and/or others? Simply acting in obedience to God?
Why was what she did so refreshing to me? Because just as I have wrongly done at times, and seen others wrongly do at times, some of us are making our decisions when it comes to serving the Lord based on our desires, and others’ desires, and the time involved, and the seeming value of, or the excitement of, or the good feeling we get when, or the potential to “do a good deed”, etc., instead of simply seeking the Lord because He is Lord and obeying the Lord because He is Lord. Instead of trusting Him to answer us and to lead us and to provide for us and to provide also for the person or people who have presented the opportunity to us, knowing He is sovereign and has a plan and that our job simply is to lovingly and humbly yield to the Lord and His plan for His glory.
If the Lord is telling you to say NO!, please do. If He is telling you to say YES!, please do. If you don’t know His will, please seek Him, dig into His Word, seek godly counsel if He is so leading you, and wait until He speaks to your heart and then respond to Him however He desires, remembering to give Him the glory for how everything works out!