One of my girls is a spender. The moment she has managed to accumulate even just a couple of dollars she's begging to go spend them. I find myself constantly reminding her if she spends now, then she is delaying being able to get what she really wants. She's learning she must determine what matters and plan accordingly, because money, like any other resource, is finite and requires stewarding and prioritising. It cannot be endlessly stretched, and neither can our time.
My preference has always been to say 'yes' when people ask something of me. However, experience has taught this recovering people-pleaser that I can’t say yes to all the requests and opportunities that come my way – no matter how good they are – because every yes spends my time.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that ‘no’ is a negative word – that it is shutting off opportunities, denying ourselves pleasure, closing doors and causing us to disappoint and offend people. But I have come to understand that every no is really a ‘yes’ to something else. A yes to what God is asking me to prioritise at that time.
In Luke 2:42-44, Jesus models this for us. He had been busy healing the sick and setting people free in the town of Capernaum. What He was doing was a good thing, a great thing actually, and understandably, the people wanted Him to say with them. But Jesus was mindful of what God had sent Him to do – which was to proclaim and demonstrate the good news in more than one place. So when they try to keep Him from leaving, He says, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.”
I have no doubt that His no disappointed the people of Capernaum. But if He had said yes to staying, He would have been saying no to the Father, which in turn would have caused fewer people to hear the good news of God's love. May we learn from Jesus' example and spend our time well, investing it in the people and priorities that God has for us in this season so that His Kingdom purposes can be realised in and through us.
Where is God inviting you to spend your time today?