Saying the word ‘no’ can be a problem for lots of us. The phone request, the email, the text message and the person who grabs your arm as you leave the meeting because they want you to join their team, attend their event, help with a project they’re planning or see if you’re free in the next week for a coffee and chat. Immediately we feel bad because we realise refusing this person is going to make them disappointed and so rather than reply negatively we bow to the demand, attend the event, turn up at the meeting or arrange a coffee that we’d really rather not drink! We fool ourselves into thinking that saying yes all the time is the “Christian thing to do” and that we’re being very selfish when we say no to the requests.
This is wrong. There, I’ve said it. Saying yes to all these requests is not a selfless thing to do it’s a selfish thing to do. We say yes because we don’t want to disappoint people. I agree to do stuff so that other people will like me. Our motivation for agreeing to requests is often rooted in a desire to have other people think highly of us. In the Sermon on The Mount [that we’ve been looking at in Carnmoney recently] Jesus instructs His followers not to be preoccupied with what people think of them. He makes it clear that the life motivated by pride is rewarded by people but the life motivated by humility is rewarded by heaven. Martin Lloyd Jones puts it like this
There is no reward from God for those who seek it from men.
Jesus says in Matthew 6:1 Be careful not to do your ‘acts of righteousness’ before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
For God’s glory and your own joy – feel free to say ‘no’
You can listen to the full message on Matthew 6 by clicking here