A request for money for a charity. A request to take on a prayer burden. A request to fast to help break spiritual strongholds. A request to be involved in a new ministry at church.
I said no to everything.
My initial response to all of this was worry about human opinion and the desire to please others. But then I realized that God was not requiring me to give His funds to a secular charity in which my heart was not invested. Nor was He asking me to take prayer ownership of a situation in which I knew none of the parties involved. The thought of additional fasting unsettled my heart and spirit. And the new ministry wasnít even on my spiritual radar screen.
The aftermath of saying no is of course guilt. The accuser of the brethren whispers in my ear that I am heartless and uncaring. Doesnít Scripture say to give to everyone who asks and to bear one anotherís burdens? (Yes it does, but context raises other issues and thatís an article for another day.)
So how can I say no to these very real needs? Donít these situations need me? Well, no. Not if the Lord isnít asking me to add more to my spiritual plate.
So I ask God for discernment as to when to say yes and when to say no. I recognize the Chief Shepherdís voice when a spontaneous joyful response to say yes arises up within me; call it that eager cheerful giver component that God loves. Yes! And Iím swift to donate to the auction to benefit a hurting family. Yes! And tears and prayers of intercession flow easily for a woman I know whose husband is dying of cancer. Yes! And I look for ways to minister to a struggling immigrant family.
Christ alone gives the freedom to say a simple two letter word. Thank you, Jesus, for giving me the liberty to say yes, and to say no.
ďFor do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? For if I still pleased men, I would not be a bondservant of Christ.Ē (Galatians 1:10)