A Time to Say “No”

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Time to Say No-Managing Time Gods Way{photo credit}


“There is a time for everything,
A season for every activity under heaven…
[A time to say “yes”,
And a time to say “no”].
Ecclesiastes 3:1

Time. It’s definitely a blessing from the Father. But if we’re not careful with how we manage that time, that blessing can sure seem more like a curse.

Do you struggle with saying “no” to people? I know I certainly do. This time of year, especially with all the hustle and bustle of the season, can become so packed full of “yes-es” that we completely miss hearing His still, small voice.

Just recently, the Lord reminded me of a story from His Word. It hit me right in between the eyes (again). It comes from John 5 and it’s a story of Jesus healing a lame man. Now, you have to understand that Jesus was among a HUGE throng of people, all needing His healing touch. The sick. The lame. The paralyzed.
One would think that Jesus would have spent all day, healing each and every one of those people. But Jesus does something radical. Something radical indeed. He only heals one man. One. There were droves of those needing His touch, but Jesus didn’t heal them all. He said, “no” to the crowds to say “yes” to just one. One lame man.

In my heart of hearts, I wondered why? Why just one? How did He know which one? Did He feel guilty over not healing them all? I know I would have. Jesus says something interesting later in that same chapter that calms my heart. “I assure you, the Son can do nothing by Himself. He does only what He sees the Father doing. Whatever the Father does, the Son does.” (verse 19) Jesus was so in tune with the Father that He only did what God wanted Him to do. Even though there were many great opportunities to say “yes”, He knew His ultimate allegiance was to say “yes” only to the Father above.

I began to ask God what implications this story had for my own life and immediately three things came to mind:

1. Do I pray about the opportunity before I say “yes”?

Even those “good” opportunities can become a distraction from my relationship with Him (and my family). The only way for me to fully understand His heart for my life is to ask Him. And He promises He’ll be found if we seek His Face. Jesus even went on to say in chapter 5, “…I do nothing without consulting the Father…” Can I say the same?

2. Do I say “yes” out of guilt?

Guilt might motivate me to say “yes”, but it sure won’t sustain me as I follow through with that commitment. I must examine the reason I’m saying “yes”. If it’s purely out of guilt, I’m better off saying “no”. And again, prayer helps to unveil my motive. He is sure to reveal that to me, if I’m open to hear His prompting.

3. Do I serve to please God or man?

Sometimes I find myself saying “yes” to please man. I want people to know that I’m reliable and can be counted upon. But serving out of this reason makes it all about me. Not Him. Ouch.

What will I do with His gift of time? Will I squander it away on many “yes-es” or will I make room for His one “yes”? The choice is ultimately mine…and yours.



Becky Spence is a homeschooling mama to four little blessings (ages 7, 4, 2, & 7 months). She is passionate about teaching, specifically literacy. She is the author of This Reading Mama, where she shares reading and writing activities as well as free literacy curricula and printables. You can also join This Reading Mama via Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest.

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