Saying No

I was recently asked to do a few things that I did not want to do; things that in the not-so-distant past I would have created an excuse in order to not do them.

First I was asked to paint a mural:

The couple that took ownership of the children’s ministry at our church worked very hard to renovate and refurbish the basement area where the kids meet on Sunday mornings. I thought it was awesome to see people pour themselves into a project with that much passion. Especially considering that they took all of the initiative, had very little funding (at least at first), and not a lot of help. Part of their plan was to have a handful of artists from our congregation paint a separate wall with a mural depicting some of the great Bible stories. When they approached me to paint one of them, my initial reaction was, “NO”.

Sure I was an art-club nerd back in high school, but that was more than 20 years ago! It has literally been years and years since I have done any painting at all, let alone a wall-sized mural. I did not want to invest that much time in something that I was pretty sure would not turn out all that great anyway. I really wanted to turn them down.

But I did not.

The story I chose to paint was David and Goliath, which turned out to be apropos. Often when people insert themselves into a bible story like David and Goliath, they see themselves in the David role, defeating some great giant against all odds – The only problem was that in my scenario, I was also Goliath. I had to overcome the part of my own brain that did not want to participate, and I am glad that I did. I felt a great deal of joy just in the creative process, but it also offered me the chance to fellowship with friends that I normally would not have had the opportunity to and be part of something bigger and more important than myself.

The other thing I was asked to do was to serve on a Walk to Emmaus weekend:

(If you are not familiar with the Walk to Emmaus movement, click here to learn more.) I have spent a decade saying “NO” to Lay Leaders asking me to serve in any capacity on these Walks. But for whatever reason, I agreed to do it. As the date came closer though, the more I regretted my decision. The last thing I wanted to do was sleep on a bunk in a cabin with four other guys in a campground listening to a bunch of stale talks about about faith and love. Nothing about that sounded appealing to me. But I had agreed to it, so I went.

Thank God I went.

It was a blessing to be able to serve others – especially other men who also did not want to be there the first day or two. Physically, by Sunday evening I was exhausted and wanted my bed, my couch and my wife back – but I was also strangely joyful and spiritually energized by the experience. Once again my inner David battled against the towering giant of my inner Goliath – and against all odds, little David won – and God blessed me for it.

Actually I found out later, several other potential workers HAD said no. Evidently just enough of them had turned the offer down in order to get low enough on the list for me to even be asked – and I am guessing that was pretty low. The theme for the weekend, in a nutshell, is God’s grace – and in a very real way, I experienced it!

Not to be too cliché, but that’s pretty amazing when you think about it.

2 thoughts on “Saying No

  1. Great post. The mural is awesome, just like the whole basement…And what happens down there each week is even better. I struggled with a weekend decision for the previous WTE weekend also. Fortunately when you say yes, God makes the blessing so rich that you wonder why you had such a hard time deciding. I was asked last week and need to make a decision before the end of the weekend. What to do…what to do…, pray for wisdom and guidance please.

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