When Yes Means No and No Becomes Yes

 jumping between yes and no

When someone asks me to do something for them, my natural inclination is to say yes. When it’s someone in authority over me, someone with the right to command instead of ask, the “yes” is almost automatic.

It’s not that I’m a pathological people-pleaser, but I find no pleasure in disappointing people when what they ask is reasonable.

But do you ever find yourself saying yes when you plan to avoid doing what was asked? And what about when you say no but decide to do it anyway?

One time, when Jesus was teaching in the temple courts in Jerusalem, the chief priests and elders challenged him to tell them who gave him authority to teach what he did. He turned the tables on them by asking difficult questions about their own obedience to God. Those questions were posed in parables. One focused on the different response of two sons (Matthew 21:28-31).

(Jesus said,) “What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’” And he answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went. And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you.” (ESV)

Each of us has a calling from God. Sometimes it’s something we love doing or something that uses one of our natural talents. It might be music, or teaching, or medicine, or taking care of children, or writing devotionals or Christian fiction.

But sometimes it’s something that’s hard for us. Maybe we have to work for years to learn the skills we need to answer the call. Maybe we have to put aside our own desires for a fun and easy life. Maybe we have to forgive someone when we really don’t want to.

Sometimes we want to do it, sometimes not.

But it’s OK if we don’t want to do it at the beginning…as long as we do it in the end.

God loves us enough to wait patiently until we finally head in the direction He knows is best.

Have you ever started by telling God no and then done what you knew He wanted you to do? How did that turn out?

4 thoughts on “When Yes Means No and No Becomes Yes

  1. Damon J. Gray

    > Have you ever started by telling God no and then done what you knew He wanted you to do? How did that turn out?

    I think the first 20 years of my life were telling God “No,” and often even more crass things than that.

    An interesting post, Carol. At first, I thought you were going to talk about “Let your ‘yes’ be a yes and your ‘no’ be a no…” You tricked me!

    1. Carol Ashby Post author

      That’s a really good thing to keep in mind and live by, Damon. Glad you reminded us here!

  2. Katie Powner

    I love that parable because I so relate to giving God an immediate “No way!” and then later trudging out to the field to go ahead and do what He asked. It’s always worth it.


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