Yes! or no?

reading the gospel of matthew

Image by khrawlings via Flickr


If words were objects, I believe the word “yes” would be an ignition switch and the word “no” would be a parking brake.

Albert Einstein said, “Nothing happens until something moves.” My personal life experience would rewrite his quote to read, “Purpose doesn’t happen until someone says yes.” Movement in humans often begins with agreement and acceptance. When we say yes to something, we put plans into motion. When we say no to an opportunity, we stay put.

Pick Someone Else More Qualified Please!

Many times we feel ill equipped, unworthy, inexperience and just plain scared to death when life confronts us with a challenge. Yes? or No?, life asks.

To say yes often means we will risk or suffer failures and setbacks. Saying no offers the security of the status quo.  I would rather possibly fail spectacularly in pursuit of my life’s purpose, than fail certainly and thus suffer a lifetime of regrets for never having tried. Our fate and destiny all hinge on our yes and no answers to life’s questions.

Courageous? Yes!

Saying yes requires courage. There are few guarantees in life. Saying no seems safer at first, but leads to the slow death of stagnation. Serenity comes from accepting the things you cannot change and having the courage to change the things you can and the wisdom to know the difference between the two. Wisdom is key in deciding when to say yes and when to say no. Ultimately, we each have the freedom to choose.

Faith to Say Yes!

The Bible is filled with stories of ordinary people who said yes to his/her calling from God and served out his/her purpose for being. Not all the stories turn out worldly well, but they all turn out perfectly as planned, if you have faith and believe in the purpose of the overall story and its ultimate author.

Richness, excitement, challenge, satisfaction, meaning and purpose  are all found on the path that opens behind the door marked yes. The question is when is it wise to say yes and when is it wise to say no? I’ll leave that up to you to decide. As for me, I have discovered an internal GPS device that I have learned to trust for guidance. Maybe it’s the pilot in me. My GPS is not a Global Positioning system, but rather it is God’s Purposeful Solutions. I stay connected through a free high-speed network called prayer.

I have experienced many opportunities to trust in God’s plan for my life and for His purpose. I have learned to have faith in God even when I have no faith in my understanding or talents. Proverbs 3:4-5 says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understandings; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.” Later in verse 27 we read, “Do not withhold good from those who deserve it, when it is in your power to act.” This to me means that one should  say yes to helping when one can do so. 

I have some more guidance from the following:

James 1:2-5 “Consider it pure joy,  my brothers, whenever you face trials of any kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”

James 1:12 “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trail, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.”

Say Yes! Even When It Hurts 

Recently, a terrific young father of two young boys began attending our small church and the men’s Bible study group that I am blessed to lead.  I quickly got to know and like him. I learned that he was facing many life challenges including mental illness. I am grateful to say that our church family said yes to God’s challenge to love this newcomer. We welcomed him with open hearts and open arms and tried our best to show him God’s love and grace.

We were devastated to learn this week that his illness had claimed his life.

Through grieving and caring for those who were impacted by this tragic loss, we experienced the grace of God’s comfort. We came to understand personally what is meant by “Blessed are those who mourn, they will be comforted.”-Matthew 5:4. You see through all the pain of loss and sadness for his family and friends, I felt God’s voice saying, “Well done good and faithful servant!”-Matthew 25:23. “I’ll take over from here.”

When you say yes to a calling, an assignment or an opportunity to serve, you are not expected to perform perfectly. You are expected to say yes and to do the best you can with what you have been given to work with. God will take care of the rest. I believe that God doesn’t need us to do His work, but that he allows us to share in His work because He knows it gives our lives meaning.

I do not enjoy the sense of loss that I feel for my new friend. But through my pain, I contact my humanity which says to me that I would rather risk experiencing this pain than to live with the regret of having never taken the time to get to know my friend. 

On the morning of the day my friend’s life ended, I sent him an e-mail to check up on him. He, another member of my men’s group named Dan and I had shared about an hour’s conversation after our Sunday worship service.  He had shared his pain.  We became present with him in his suffering. We tried to offer him hope, understanding and unconditional love.

His response to my How are you doing? message was, “Hang’n in there. Thanks for talking with me. It really helped.” Late that same night, his mental illness took his life.

Dan and I did what we could do to help our new friend. We knew that he was also receiving professional mental health care. None of it was not enough to save him, but I believe it was all that we could have done and that is enough for God.  One of the people I follow on Twitter tweeted a quote that sums this thought up well, “Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little. – Edmund Burke”

If presented with the same circumstances in the future, I will say yes again. The price for saying  no is too costly for my soul.

What’s Your Answer?

What are you being asked to say yes to? You have been and are continuing to be equipped to complete the next step of your purpose for being here. Will you say yes? I pray that you will. The more we say yes, the more we can make a difference, even in what might seem to only be a small thing to us. You never know if saying yes to listening to someone who needs to talk instead of going out to lunch might make a difference to someone and to you.

The world awaits your answer. What will it be? Yes! or no?

As for me, I’m trying to be God’s Yes! man.


About Andrew W Dix, MS, BCC
Author, Board Certified Executive Business Coach, Trainer, Reiss Motivation Profile Master and Private Pilot. Expertise in motivational intelligence, leadership development, strengths, management, coaching, and change management. Available for keynote addresses.

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