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  • Writer's pictureRichard Parrish

Saying yes isn’t always best

“And he said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.’ For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.” (Mark 6:31-32 ESV)

I can say yes much easier than I can say no. As a servant leader, I tend to say yes more often because I enjoy encouraging and helping others.

However, over the years I’ve begun to realize that peoples’ needs never run out. Regardless of where we live or work, people will always ask for our time and assistance.

Saying yes isn’t bad. After all, serving others is good. Helping others fulfills us and encourages them, and it pleases Jesus. However, without learning how and when to say no, it’s only a matter of time until we discover (unlike the never-ending needs): Our strength and resources ARE limited!

My religious upbringing instructed me to always say yes to those in need, even when doing so was detrimental to my physical, mental, or spiritual well-being. If you did try to say no, you’d be asked questions like “How can you say NO to a person in need?” or “W-W-J-D?” or “How can you say NO to Jesus?”

Those questions aren’t necessarily wrong. It’s wise to consider what Jesus would do in a given situation, and it’s right to look for opportunities to serve others. But questions like those are often used to motivate people through guilt.

In Mark, Jesus demonstrates His wisdom by telling his disciples to, Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” They had just returned from a demanding time of ministry where they were constantly saying yes to the needs of others by proclaiming Christ, healing the sick, and casting out demons (Mark 6:12-13). In essence, this is what Jesus was saying to His disciples:

It’s time to say NO to others by saying YES to yourself – and to Me.

Christ understands that always saying yes to others will drain us. There is a time and a place when saying no to others will please Jesus more than saying yes would. Jesus’ love and concern for you and your health are equally as important as they are for others. Constantly saying yes depletes our strength and resources and ignores our LORD’s invitation to find refreshment for our souls.

Are you tired and weary? Have the requests for help become frustrating? Do you ever wonder why others are quick to ask for help but never ask how they can help you in return? Have you put your passion, dreams, and desires on hold because you’re helping others?

Hear the loving words of Jesus: “Come away… and rest [with Me].” Maybe it’s time to say no right now so that later you will be able to say yes when you’re refreshed and filled with Christ’s presence.


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