“Yes!” It is a good word. It is a positive word. It is a word people like to hear. But parents can get into a lot of trouble if they use it too much. Would you like to sign up for soccer? Yes! Piano lessons? Yes! Youth group retreat? Yes! Extra study group? Yes! Travel baseball? Yes! Before you know it, your entire life is driving your kids (usually arriving late) to all the things that you said “yes” to. I know everyone else is saying yes. I know the terrible feeling that your child will be “missing out” if you ever say no to something. However, if we don’t start learning to say no to some things, we will cause our children to miss the things they need the most.
Say “No” to Protect Your Family Worship Time
God calls His families to take regular time in family prayer and Scripture reading (Deuteronomy 6:4-9). A primary enemy of family worship is busyness and being pulled in too many different directions. If your family schedule is too full to have regular time in prayer and Scripture, you are too busy!
Say “No” to Build Your Family Relationships
God has brought your family together for a purpose. He has a Kingdom mission for you. In order to fulfill that mission you need to be growing in love, warmth, and closeness with each other. The demons will make it a top priority to fill your family with distance, anger, and tension – to keep you from God’s Kingdom purpose! If you say yes to too many activities outside the home, you will not have sufficient time together as a family unit to work through problems and develop the depth of love that God’s mission for you will require.
Say “No” to Serve Grandparents and Extended Family
A heart for service begins at home, especially for family members who have extra needs (1 Timothy 5:1-11). Schedule time to help older family members with chores or yard work. Set aside time to minister to them on a personal level just by spending time with them. Are you too busy for these things? If so, you are too busy.
Say “No” to Reach Out To Your Neighbors
It is easy for our out-of-control family schedule to remove any and all of our availability to serve our neighbors. Is there someone on your block that needs extra help in his home or yard? Are there people in your neighborhood who do not know Jesus? When was the last time you invited them over for dinner? Are you too busy for this kind of ministry? If so, you have said “yes” too often to less important things.
Say “No” to Give and Go
Sometimes our “no” needs to come in the area of our spending. In order to have money to give to church, missionaries, and those in need requires saying no to other things. What is on your “no” list this month? What about your summer plans? Have you planned some trips? Are any of those trips related to missions or service? Vacations are wonderful when God enables us to take them. However, do we ever say “no” to a vacation so we can travel as a family to share the Gospel or serve others?
“No” 101 – the Sabbath
In the fourth commandment (Exodus 20:8-11), God told the Israelites to practice saying “no” one day every week. There were many reasons for the Sabbath commandment, but part of it was so that God’s people would be able to say “yes” to the most important aspects of their lives, worship, relationships, and service. I encourage you to pray as a family about what the Lord might lead you to say “no” to as a part of your Sabbath day.
What do you need to say “no” to this month, so that you can say “yes” to something even more important?