Why You Should Say YES to Saying NO

When Helping Others Isn't Helping at All

Do you struggle to say NO—especially when people ask you for help? I do. As a Christian, I think it’s even more difficult because, after all, aren’t we called to be like Jesus and serve when moved with compassion?


The problem is this: when we let other people’s priorities write our story, we end up with a jumbled tale that no one would ever want to read.

And here is the harsh truth: it happens because we let it happen.

We Christians tend to think that helping all who ask for help is the right thing to do. After all, didn’t Jesus come to serve?

Didn’t Paul pour himself out as a drink offering in service?

Aren’t we all supposed to be “used up and wasted” for God?

This type of thinking, while well-intentioned, can be downright dangerous.

Yes, we are called to serve. We have been redeemed to minister to others. We are blessed to be a blessing.

But we’ll never serve anyone as well as we could, when we’re too busy trying to serve everyone we can.

Are You Doing a Great Work?

Consider the biblical example of Nehemiah.

He had answered God’s call to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. He faced stiff resistance and yet he stayed focused on his calling to serve the people of God in the effort.

When enemies opposed to his efforts asked him to take a break in order to meet and discuss the friction he was causing and the alleged rumors swirling around his efforts, he flatly refused.

“I am doing a great work and cannot come.”

Wow. How arrogant his reply sounds to our ears today.

Even when they sent an open letter with a public accusation of his motives, he refused to meet.

He kept his eyes locked on his mission. Because he knew everything else was simply a distraction.

Half of the troubles in this life can be traced to saying YES too quickly and not saying NO soon enough. –Josh Billings

The enemies trying to distract Nehemiah had nefarious purposes, but often those who we allow to distract us have pure and sincere motives.

Self-centered, perhaps, but not meaning harm.

Yet when we say YES too often, we do harm—to ourselves, our family, and even those we claim to be helping with our indiscriminate YES.

We spread ourselves too thin and end up doing none of it well.

If we really cared about helping others, about giving the world the best we have to offer, we would say NO far more than we say YES—and let the chips fall where they may.

But YES sure sounds more spiritual doesn’t it?

The bottom line is this: are you doing a great work? If not, find the great work God has called you to do and focus on it.

Not all work is YOUR work.

God doesn’t expect you to do it all. But he does expect that whatever you do, you do it with all your might.

That means you bring your A-game every time. You give it your focused attention. And you don’t let yourself get distracted by the requests of others—no matter how good or ill-intentioned.

Start today.

Question: Where do you need to start saying NO so you can focus on the calling God has given you? Share your thoughts by clicking here.

Photo credit: Wiki Commons

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