Michelle Williams, one third of the multiplatinum record-selling R’n’B/soul/pop group “Destiny’s Child” has recently recorded and released a track named “Say Yes.” Since the track’s release on June 2nd of this year, it has rapidly grown in popularity. Like many others, I certainly found it quite infectious as the catchy tune, sampled from a traditional Nigerian gospel chant, is one very hard to forget after listening to it the first time! You can listen to it here:
In addition to its dance-style beat, this gospel/pop genre hit has quite affirming lyrics. “When Jesus Say ‘Yes’ Nobody Can Say ‘No’” provides this repetitive chorus. With such lyrics, listeners are encouraged “not to worry about a thing” for the Lord is “guiding me.” The track easily draws the ears and hearts of the vulnerable. It really is an affirmation for the insecure, the confused, the unsure as well as the praiseful. A feel good song when you need one. There is also plenty of truth in this song: in Jesus there are no longer boundaries or limitations (i.e Philippians 4:13 - “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”; Isaiah 41:10 – “Do not fear, for I am with you”; Romans 6:18 – “You have been set free from sin.”). This song will be a great encouragement for many in years to come!
After reflecting on this song and its lyrics, it has highlighted for me, another important truth: Jesus also says “No.” Does He? Well, there are clear boundaries Jesus sets for himself – boundaries that are set as examples for us to follow. Despite being in the privileged yet very hectic position of ministering to large crowds, often for long periods throughout the day, Jesus identified the need to rest (Luke 5:16; Mark 6:45-46). For Jesus, his withdrawal from the busyness of ministry was in a sense saying, “No.” Jesus’ earthly ministry after all, meant that he too, would experience the physical and mental impact of the demands of work. Jesus was also clear to say “No” to the unsuccessful attempts of the Devil in the desert (Luke 4:1-13).
We can be misled to believe that Jesus enables a “YES” attitude in all aspects of life. Yes – Jesus brings renewal, forgiveness and reconciliation. Yes – Jesus enables eternal life to those who will believe. Yes – Jesus has provided the Way to the Father. Jesus says “Yes” we can do ANYTHING. But, Jesus also says, “No” we can’t do EVERYTHING. Yet, we still find it difficult to say “No.” Jesus says “No” to temptation. Yet, we still say “YES.” Personally, I know my schedule can sometimes look like a messy crossword - yet I still say, “YES” to people. Before I know it, I have let someone down – or failed to show - as a result of not learning from Jesus – and being able to say “No” where “Yes” is not needed.
And YOU? When Jesus says, “NO” – are you still saying “YES”? It’s not healthy. If Jesus set boundaries around his own well-being – what makes us think we don’t need to?
Rev. Gary Mauga
Advent greetings to you all in Jesus’ name!
My computer is soooo slow! It takes a good six minutes to heat up once I’ve powered it “ON.” And then, it takes another three minutes to remind me that I need to renew my subscription to an “anti-virus.” By the time I am presented with the option of “logging in” I have already counted how many spiders there are in each corner of my office ceiling! Loading... loading... loading... I can’t stand waiting too long – and I can’t wait standing too long either. I think I have what John Ortberg describes as “hurry sickness.”
The world we live in today, is a world where almost everything we want can be obtained with the click of a mouse. Dining, no longer requires sitting down around a table – we can now order at a window and eat in our cars while making our way to the next appointment. Such are clear symptoms of “hurry sickness.” We’re all in a rush! Shortcuts can be time-saving, but we often lose much experience and learning when we live with an “I want it NOW” attitude. What we need is to SLOW DOWN.
We are in the season of waiting and anticipating! Advent provides for the Christian communities worldwide a time to reflect and expect as we journey toward the day God came to live among us – incarnate in Jesus Christ. Christmas should be more than a shopping rush or a single Day of gifts and celebration. The story of Christmas begins with its anticipation toward the arrival of the greatest gift the world will ever receive – Jesus – our Salvation and our Messiah. The anticipation and waiting provides space to notice the particular detail. Waiting enables our eyes to be open to see things clearly. I never knew how many spiders I worked with!
Is Christmas going to be a rush for you? Just another day? There is much more to learn about Christmas when we rid ourselves of “hurry sickness.” The birth of Christ is a great example of the beauty of an “unhurried life” – there is a delicate process involved in bearing a child before birth inaugurates the gift of life. Good things take time. One of my favourite sayings inspired by Matthew 6:26-34 is this: “Nature never hurries; yet everything is accomplished.”
My friends, take your time this Christmas.
Rev. Gary Mauga.
Rev. Gary Mauga
Thoughts and comments by our minister, Gary.
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Rev. Gary Mauga