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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Saying No!

But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.
Luke 5:16
By some of today's standards, Jesus did not have a very effective ministry. He started late in life and only preached for a couple of years. He left towns and crowds who begged him to stay. He kept a low profile, commanding people he healed to not tell what the Lord had done. He liked to be by himself and took breaks all the time. With that track record, we might think that our ministry models could teach Jesus a thing or two about outreach.

If you're active in church, you attend Sunday worship, Wednesday prayer meeting, lead a women’s Bible study, teach Sunday school, sing in the choir . . . the list could go on. And you never take a break, right? Of course not. Saying no to people in need is not something a Christian woman does, right? Taking time off makes us feel guilty.

That's why studying Jesus' ministry is so important for us overachievers. When we look at his life, we see a Savior who knew his limits. Jesus chose whom to help and whom to say no to. Even though his time on earth was short, he still spent long hours alone. If Jesus did not view these rests as selfish or wasteful, why do we? And he didn't hesitate to tell women to slow down, either--remember Mary and Martha?

Ladies, it's okay to say no. Go ahead--rest. Rejuvenate. Don't kid yourself into believing that you can't take a break. That kind of pride will only drive you to exhaustion. God the Creator rested on the seventh day. And Jesus constantly withdrew from the crowds to connect alone with the Father.

Whatever your calling, it could not be more pressing or vital than Jesus' ministry was when he was on earth. Jesus took time off. He said no to people in need because he truly understood a key ingredient of a powerful ministry--constant refueling by God's strength.

God commands you to rest. So just do it.