Just Say No!
Let your mind drift back to the classic, anti-drug commercials of the eighties and nineties when we discovered that eggs were bad for us. Of course, true to of our cultural loss of absolutes, we are not entirely sure if eggs are good or bad for us. But, I digress. Do you remember the commercials? A frying pan with bubbling oil invited a whole, fresh egg for a dance. The egg quickly surrendered to the frying pan producing the incredible, edible egg that we all love.
In the commercials, the frying pan represents drugs and the egg represents our collective brains. The analogy is poignant and pointed. Most of us would agree with the basic premise of the commercial – illegal drugs are bad for us. We would also endorse the refrain, “Just say no”!
We try to drill into our children and youth that it is okay to say no to the things that will destroy us. Yet, some of us have great difficulty saying no. Many of us realize that we should say no more often, but the decision becomes complicated by the innumerable good opportunities that flood our lives. Could it be that we are draining our physical, emotional, and spiritual reserves by saying yes to too many good opportunities? Is it wrong to say no? Will we be stoned if we say no? Will the world stop? Will we be labeled as bad moms and dads? What will the neighbors think?
Perhaps we are asking the wrong question. Maybe we should ask, is it wrong to say yes? What would Jesus do? (I really need to update my slogans.) Did Jesus say no? I think Jesus said no much more often than we realize.
While people were burdened with great theological questions, Jesus hid.
Jesus left that place and went to the vicinity of Tyre. He entered a house and did not want anyone to know it; Mark 7:24
When asked to run for political office, Jesus hid.
Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself. John 6:15
While people were hungry, Jesus hid.
24 Once the crowd realized that neither Jesus nor his disciples were there, they got into the boats and went to Capernaum in search of Jesus. 25 When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, "Rabbi, when did you get here?" John 6:24-25
While people were sick, Jesus hid.
Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the lake, and a large crowd from Galilee followed. Mark 3:7
Jesus hid a lot.
But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. Luke 5:16.
But, when it mattered, He said yes.
He went away a second time and prayed, "My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done." Luke 26:42
Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2
Sometimes we have to say no to good things, so that we can yes to great things.