One of the most heartfelt and best moments for me during church services or conferences is to see individuals responding to the Word. What a beautiful picture it is to see many walk to the altar, giving their 'yes' to God. Such tender and precious moments!
I've had my share of saying 'yes' at the altar. The first was when I was 14 years old. During a particular 'missions weekend' in church, I remember giving my life to the call of missions, to live fully for Jesus and to see the gospel go to the ends of the earth. With that, more 'yes's were offered to God throughout my years growing up.
'Yes' to living out loud for Jesus. 'Yes' to going to the ends of the earth. 'Yes' to preaching the gospel. 'Yes' to being set apart for His gospel. 'Yes' to doing things His way. 'Yes' to obeying His voice. 'Yes' to studying His word. 'Yes' to the call of missions. 'Yes' to the call of prayer. 'Yes' to changing the world.'
A few years later, I found myself receiving opportunities to serve and lead in church ministries and my workplaces. Some I gladly took up because they seemed to be within my capabilities, but I turned others down because I deemed myself unqualified. That was just a better way of saying I was scared to do those assignments. Slowly, I started to reject more and more assignments because it seemed like there were far more qualified people out there to do it.
Fast-forward to December 2016 -- during a gathering, a couple of friends causally mentioned the possibility of me being a prayer-leading at a meeting.
'Hey, you can definitely prayer-lead!'
'Eh haha, no, I can't. Someone else can do that!'
I didn't know that saying 'no' had become such a norm for me until that brief conversation. My response to that casual suggestion stuck with me for days and weeks.
'No, I can't.'
'No, I can't.'
'No, I can't.'
Finally, on the last day of 2016, the Lord spoke to me in the bathroom.
"It's the small and daily 'yes's that give weight to the big 'yes's you offer during altar calls.
Let 2017 be a year of Yes."
And this got me thinking.
We cannot keep saying 'no' to the daily (mundane) tasks and expect the 'yes' we said at the altar to end up impacting the world. If you want your 'yes' at the altar to mean something, don't neglect the 'yes' of every single moment.
So... what does saying 'yes' look like? How can we live out our 'yes'?
Here are a few possible pictures:
a. Character-building in Progress
Messy, broken, dusty; pieces everywhere. Us under construction.
Our 'yes' gave God the permission to actively prune us; to put us through fire to burn away all the impurities, so that He can make our hearts pure and our hands clean to do what He has purposed for us.
b. Building What's in Front of Us First
Serving tea. Replying emails. Coordinating meetings. Driving guests around. Preparing presentation slides. Working under a difficult company management. And more.
Often times, saying 'yes' means doing what is currently placed in front of us. God opens the door to divine opportunities when we stay faithful to steward what has already been entrusted to us in our season. We can choose to say no to the seemingly unimportant things that come our way, but remember this: David did not become king immediately after Samuel anointed him. He resumed on his daily duties tending sheep. He attended to King Saul, as he was told. Already anointed for kingship, David ran errands for his father and served his older brothers. He was regarded as a 'nobody' in the eyes of men. But in the midst of running errands for his father, David was given the opportunity to kill Goliath and bring God glory, which paved the way for his destiny to be fulfilled.
c. Doing it Afraid
All throughout Scripture, God spoke to His people about fear. God said, "Do not fear" or "Do not be afraid" almost a hundred times. Take a closer look, those phrases were often used to address audiences who were fearful. Moses was afraid. Joshua was fearful. David. Elijah. Jesus' disciples. These powerful men of faith were afraid. But they did what the Lord commanded. Leaders are not born fearless - they do it afraid.
And that's our job. To do what the Lord asks of us daily even though we feel fear.
Step out to sing a new song. Step out to pray for a stranger. Step out to give to someone in need. Step out even when you are afraid.
Jesus remembers our 'yes's. Jesus takes them seriously. He uses our 'yes's to impact others, people groups, or even nations. He takes our 'yes's and changes the world.
May we take our 'yes's seriously too.
And hey, it's your small 'yes's that change the world.