Monday, 6 July 2015

Don't be a No person

One day, a man needed to cross a river. As he stood on the bank he saw a group on horseback coming up. Surveying them, he approached one of the men and asked him if he would please give him a ride over the river. The horseman immediately said Yes and took him onto his horse. Once across, another person approached and said, “Why did you ask the President for a ride?” Surprised the man told him, “I didn’t realize that he was the President, I only knew that he had a Yes face and you others all had No faces.”
Caleb and Jacob demonstrating 'No' faces for us

This true story comes from America’s history. It illustrates the great point that it is so easy to be No people when could be Yes people! We can’t be bothered doing something for someone else so the No face comes on and we miss out on the blessing of serving others and making a difference. I believe there are two main reasons why we say No when we could so easily say Yes. 

The first reason is what the N stands for in NO. It is Not Interested.

The key phrase here is “Why Should I?” 

Self-centeredness is a major problem. Our society is a me-first society, where Me, Myself and I are the most important. Saying No these days seems to be the “in” thing. It is strongly encouraged all over the place. We see articles all the time in various magazines that say things along the lines of “Say No to more stuff,” but on the next page it says, “Say Yes to yourself and indulge your own hobbies and interests, go to the gym, have a coffee with friends, read a good book, you owe it to yourself.” It’s our right. It’s our privilege.

Sometimes No is just a cloak for selfishness. Why should I bother to put myself out for someone else when it’s so much easier and more relaxing to do things that only benefit me? I’m definitely Not Interested in helping someone else out. No way!

There is a time and place to say No. Sometimes we just can’t say yes. And obviously, some things are clearly not in our best interests or simply can’t be managed. My point is not that we should never say No. My point is simply that sometimes I think we get into the groove of saying No for no other reason than that it is so convenient and comfortable and makes life easier for us. But there is something higher than an easy life.

This is a famous saying sometimes attributed to Stephen Grellet. “I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good thing, therefore, that I can do or any kindness I can show to any fellow human being let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”

Have you heard this phrase before: “What’s in it for me?” 

What is in it for you? The joy and blessings you get from being a Yes person! The knowledge that you have blessed the God who said that if you even give a cup of cold water to someone, you are really serving him and will be blessed in return. So many people have a default setting of No. When something is asked of them, their first response is No. A person like that is missing out on an awful lot of joy!

There is only so much one can squeeze out of a day. However let’s not have No as our first and automatic response as we may miss some of the special blessings and surprises that the Lord wanted to send us today. 

Sophie demonstrating a 'Yes' face for us

It has often been said that the key to having JOY is to put Jesus first, yourself last and others in between.

Here’s what the O stands for in NO. It’s Opportunities.

We live in a busy society where everyone is on the go and busy, busy, busy all the time. We fill our lives up with activities and important (and not so important) uses for our time. How, you say, can I ask you to say ‘Yes’ to more stuff? Do I really want to see you running around like a headless chook trying to get you to fit more stuff into your already busy life?

Busyness can be a trap. We do have opportunities. We must keep things in perspective and make sure our priorities are in order. Are we busy with the most important things in life or busy with the ‘fillers’? Do we refuse to say Yes to something extremely valuable just so we can go out and have more me-time? We must keep this as our bottom line. “I never want to be so busy that I don’t have time to help a person in need.”

I have heard it said that “the need does not constitute the call”. How tragic this line is. I’m awfully glad the Good Samaritan didn’t look at the injured man on the road and say to himself “The need does not constitute the call” and so walk past. If there is a need, and you are in the right position and able to fill that need, then it is your call.

Yes, we can’t do everything. However, have you heard the story of the boy who was throwing dying starfish back into the sea? The beach was littered with thousands of starfish and a looker-on thought it was a pointless job. Yet when he asked the boy why he was bothering because it wasn’t making much of a difference, the boy threw one more starfish into the ocean and told the man, “It made a difference to that one.”

You might not be able to change the entire world, but at least you can change a small part of it, for someone. You can be a light, spreading sunshine wherever you go.

Helen Keller once famously said “I am only one, but still I am one. I can’t do everything. But I can do something. Because I can’t do everything, I will not refuse to do the something I can do.”

Don’t be a No person. Be a YES person. 

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  1. Reminds me of a song to the tune of Jingle-bells J. O. Y. Jesus first Yourself last the Others in between.

    1. I was thinking of that very song when I was writing it. :P

  2. Wow, what a great post! It comes into even the simple everyday not complaining when you're asked to do the dishes or take your little brother with you. Thanks for sharing!

    Your brothers are absolutely adorable!

    1. Thanks!

      They're more adorable when they smile. :P


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