“What are you really accomplishing here? Why are you trying to do all this alone while everyone stands around you from morning till evening?” Exodus 18:14
The above verse is taken from the part of Moses’ story where the Israelites have been successfully whisked away from Pharaoh’s clutches and delivered safely to the opposite side of the Red Sea where they stood and watched their enemy’s ultimate doom – at the bottom of the sea. Many days of traveling and grumbling went by and then Moses’ father-in-law showed up with Moses’ wife and children. While he was in town, Jethro, the priest of Midian, made a very interesting observation. Moses’ daily practice of sitting and hearing every single case from the people was an ineffective one. He noticed that Moses was doing everything while there were plenty of fully capable people just sitting around doing nothing. Now, moms, is this sounding familiar to any of you?
How about this? Our scene opens up on a sunny Sunday afternoon. The family has praised and worshipped, Sunday Schooled and Bible studied and have returned home for lunch where mom stands in the kitchen and prepares the meal on a supposed to be Sabbath day of rest, while the family reclines at the entertainment center and waits for the dinner bell to ring.
Or how about this one? The frenzied church volunteer who has her hands busy with kids and church, work and no play being asked to do just one more little thing for the program. “It’s only an hour a month, no big commitment”. Except, it is.
You know what they say, “If you want something done, give it to a busy person because they’ll get it done”. But no one ever really finishes the statement do they? “The busy person will get it done, but it might not be done well because they were so busy!”
God gave me this verse today right smack next to, well one measly page away from, the fourth commandment; Remember to observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. You have six days each week for your ordinary work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath day of… more work. NO!!!!! If you’re like me, if you’ve ever tried to take a Sabbath day you will know what ultimately happens, someone asks for your help. And, if you struggle with Insecurity the way I have in the past, then you usually cave in and agree to help them because it’s easier than standing up for yourself and your much needed (and well deserved) rest and alone time with God. Anything to make someone else happy – and you miserable.
So, as if these two verses smooshed together weren’t enough to convict me to grow a backbone and just say, “No”! This devotional that He literally emailed me (through a friend) sealed the message with a kiss of complete conviction. When I say “Yes” to something that isn’t meant for me, I’m not just hurting myself. I’m hurting the person who God has picked for that thing, the people who WOULD have benefitted from that person doing the thing that God had chosen them for, and the person who asked me in the first place. Sometimes God blesses us with opportunities that aren’t ours to take, but are ours to GIVE. By turning down a certain opportunity we are opening up that door to the intended receiver of that opportunity. We haven’t turned someone down, we’ve turned them around to look in a direction they hadn’t first thought to look in order to find that one person who can perfectly fit the bill – even if they weren’t a first draft pick for the job. Then there are other times in our lives when the right opportunity comes around at the right moment and we’re able to fully commit ourselves to the task at hand, all because we said “No” to the not-quite-right one.
It’s a complicated task this saying “no” thing, but it’s also one that the Holy Spirit is more than willing and able to help us with if we’re humble enough to ask for the help.
Even the strength to say, “No”. 😉