Christians are so afraid afraid to say the word "NO!"
We think that if we don't agree to every request, we are being unkind.
The limits of our human condition alone should tell us that we cannot be everywhere, do everything or say "yes" to everything.
We can take it a step further. We may agree that we cannot always say "yes" but we don't always see that the word "NO" can be vital to our lives!
Sometimes it is a matter of choice or priority. We can't travel in two directions in be in two places at once. We may be able to "multi-task" but we can't really do two things at once that demand considerable focus.
So saying "yes" to one thing often means saying "NO" to another as a consequence.
We may have to say "no" to being a famous rock star because we have said "yes" to giving our full attention to raising our children. We may have to say "no" to our friends' request to play basketball because we have work to do.
Ultimately, as Christians, we often have to say "no" to many things which pull us away from God!
In Genesis chapter 15, God commanded Abraham to prepare and offer a sacrifice to Him:
9 So He said to him, “Bring Me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.”
10 Then he brought all these to Him and cut them in two, down the middle, and placed each piece opposite the other; but he did not cut the birds in two.
The part I find interesting is the next verse:
11 And when the vultures came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away.
Notice that is says that Abram [Abraham] drove away the vultures and not God!
God had commanded the sacrifice. Would He not also prevent the vultures from attacking it?
It seems that there are times when God will take care of every detail when He commands us to do something and there are other times when we have to take action!
Like Abraham, we may have to guard what we present to God!
"Why did God let the phone ring when I was planning to read my Bible?" Perhaps God wants me to turn it off!
"What a bummer!" My favorite show is on the same night as the church Bible study. Well I guess God would have not let that happen if he wanted me to go."
There is an old story about a boy who was given two quarters by his parents. one was for him to spend on himself and the other to put in the church offering. On the way, one of the quarters dropped out of his hand and rolled into a nearby sewer. The boy said in disgust, "Oh God - there goes Your quarter!"
You get the idea! Abraham chased away the vultures which tried to interfere with the sacrifice he had prepared for God. We must also "chase away" and say "NO" to anything which attempts to devour our time with God - so we can say a resounding "YES" to Him!