From: James Dodwell, Hammers for Hope

Good Morning,

There is a word in the English vocabulary that I have trouble saying. It is a simple pronunciation, one syllable, the fourteenth and fifteenth letters in the alphabet, respectively. It has been a blessing at times when I was unable to pronounce the word, it has gotten me in some crazy predicaments by not being able to get the word out soon enough and it has caused mixed feelings within when I was finally able to line the letters up just right, apply sound and actually vocalize the word. By now, you have said the ABC’s while counting on your fingers and realized the word is “No”. It’s not a difficult word to say, but knowing when to use it and when not to use it is what gets me in trouble.

No, it can’t be done, No, that’s impossible, No, I will not, No, I didn’t, all seem so negative to me. I am of the mindset it can be done with the right application of talent and abilities, it is possible if we do the right thing at the right time, I will if the circumstances are favorable and hit in my moral compass, and I did if it was my responsibility and if I didn’t I will do it right now. But I learned many years ago, I can’t say “yes” to everything that crosses my path. I just don’t have the time nor the whereto with to do it all. I remember a period of time in my life when I would say “yes” to everything just to fill my calendar. I thought if I said yes to everything then if something didn’t happen I could fill it with the next “yes” on my list of things to do today. Well, I learned quickly, it doesn’t work that way. Just saying… There was a lot of disappointed people and only one doing the disappointing; Me!

My early life mentors, my grandparents, use to say “Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers” which actually, is an answer and the answer is “No”. So it is okay to say “no” on occasions when there will not be a benefit or a positive outcome if we answer “yes”. “Would you jump off the bridge just because your friends do it?” No, mam; Yes, would just get you a head slap. “Will you watch your sister while I go to town?” Yes, mam, no, would just get you a head slap. These are easy situations in which to derive a no or a yes, but the more difficult situations arise as we become more aware of our life’s mission, doesn’t it? We all know we need to make a difference and add value in the lives of others. We should be willing to share or faith, love, hope and joy with others. We understand our walk should match our talk, the difference in action and reaction, the strength of a positive attitude, and message of a life lived as the hands and feet of Jesus can offer to others. So, are we willing to accept the responsibility to live a life that carries a message of His grace and salvation as a light shining on the path for others to see, yes or no?

The answer is simple enough; make the change in our life processes to fulfill the yes answer. This is the difficult part, and we understand the “no” answer will get us a head slap. In my studies I find many times when Jesus said “no”. It wasn’t the actually word “no”, it was in His actions. When He was rejected, He would stop healing and move on to the next place. He would not continue to satisfy the people’s worldly appetites if they refused the heavenly food being offered. In the Gospel of Mark it tells us of miraculous healing and casting out of demons in the evening. After awaking early the next morning Jesus suggested to the disciples they all go to nearby villages so that He may preach there also. Everyone was looking for Him to continue what He was doing the day before; however this was His way of saying “no.” He did not come to save one city of people but to save the world and He had to allocate His resources justly and effectively;  He was not here as a medical miracle worker but to preach and share God’s unconditional love and forgiveness with the many not just the few. Another time when He fed the multitude, they followed Him looking for a free meal and basically rejected His teaching, however in the end Jesus will not allow us to seek only what is good (bread), and refuse the best (The Bread of Life). So in effect, He said no, to those only seeking a hand-out that would not put a “hand-out” to others.

I encourage each of us to understand “No” is not always a negative word. Saying “No” sometimes helps others to decide it’s time to make a change for the better. No, I will not do that for you but yes I will show you how, and follow up to make sure you stay on path and so forth and so on. Yes it will make a difference and add value to others and no they will never forget you did. John 6:26-27

Have a wonderful day,