Just Say Yes

Reflections on a summer of mission trips.

Just Say Yes
7th & 8th Grade Mission Trip to 7 Bridges in Atlanta; Photo by the author.

Over the last six weeks I have spent more time away than I have home. Being a youth minister means a busy summer and, in our ministry, one filled with mission trips. This summer featured four different trips: one to rural Guatemala to build stoves, one to northern Florida to help build a recovery and alternative school ministry, one to north Georgia to repair houses, and one to Atlanta to deliver food and hope to people living in projects and under interstate overpasses.

The summer is obviously my busy season and comes with many pros and many cons (most of which revolve around living out of a suitcase). Every year God opens my eyes to something I need to work on. In the past God has reminded me that he is in control and I am not. He’s reminded me that no matter how hard I plan, things will change and they will be fantastic. This year God opened my eyes to this:

When we say yes to God, amazing things happen.

This might sound like a cliché. I mean, as Christians we’re supposed to say yes to God. But what I realized this summer is the result of actually saying yes, and conversely, what saying no to God looks like.

In my experience, God is trying desperately to communicate with us. He’s got an idea of the way this world should function and tries to get us to capture a glimpse of that vision. We might feel nudged in a direction or feel inspired to do something or to talk with someone. I think that’s God trying to get our attention.

All too often we tend to ignore these feelings. I know that I lean towards laziness or I try to quash the urges out of fear of rejection or of some unknown consequence. What I realized this summer is these are some of the ways that I say no to God. Ways that I decide that my ideas and plans are much more important than God’s. The problem is when we say no to God, that vision he has for the world starts to get harder to achieve.

On the other hand, saying yes to God means listening to that quiet voice telling us something. Saying yes to God means living a life that brings honor to God and puts our desires second. Saying yes to God means taking steps every day to try and bring God’s vision of a better world to fruition.

This summer we partnered with some amazing ministries, all of which stopped finding excuses and reasons to say no and starting saying yes to God. Harvest Christian in north Florida didn’t worry about little things like working portables or funding in order to start their alternative school, they saw a need to provide a place for kids to learn — they said yes to God — and now their school is twice as large as it was when we were with them last year. 7 Bridges in Atlanta didn’t worry about things like where food would come from or code enforcement laws and instead opened doors to addicts and found food to feed the people on the street. They felt called by God to serve people and instead of finding reasons to say no, 7 Bridges said yes and are significantly changing people’s lives.

It really is amazing to see what happens when people say yes to God.

What would happen if we all started to live in a way that said yes to God? What would happen if we stopped looking for excuses not to do something, or stopped being afraid to follow the direction we feel God is trying to lead us? What would happen?

Amazing things.

The more we start to say yes the easier it becomes. And when we start saying yes with other people, it becomes almost impossible to say no to God. In fact, God has created us to live this way. Acts 2:42 shows the example set by the early church: a life spent in community with others, praying together, caring for others, eating together — a life spent saying yes to God. Not just once, but day after day throughout the course of a lifetime. And the result? They were in awe of God. Amazing things happened when the early church said yes that caused the people to be in awe. I don’t know about you, but living in awe of God sounds amazing!

I know that God has things in store for the world, amazing things, awe inspiring things. The only thing preventing them from happening is our refusal to say yes. So let’s get out of the way. Let’s stop making excuses and start saying yes.

How are you going to say yes to God?