Like me, I think you would be surprised by how often we are naysayers in Christendom without even realizing it. Merriam Webster defines a Naysayer as a person who says something will not work or is not possible: a person who denies, refuses, or opposes something. And may I also add the term Obstructs?
Our small town had our annual Strawberry Festival this past weekend. Fortunately for my church, we are located on the main street through town where all the festivities take place. We have a devout group of women who participate in our Southern Baptist organization known as the Women on Mission (WMU), and this festival is one of their main fundraisers to support local, state and foreign missions. God love’em!
It takes quite a bit of manpower to operate this fundraiser of selling strawberry jams, chocolate-covered strawberries, and strawberry shortcake – the yummiest! As time drew closer, it was easy to feel the creep of desperation. In times like these it’s also too easy to make guilt threats, like “We’re going to have to cancel the whole thing if we don’t have enough help!” It’s not a good look for the church, agree?
I am a firm believer in working with what you have; I live providentially that way. God is sufficient! As such, a better back-up plan could have been to schedule the work hours until there are no more workers.
In the end, we had more help than strawberry offerings. Because of an unfortunate and unforeseen outbreak of COVID cases of church members that week, we ended up with less jams and cake donations than we anticipated, and as such, ran out of items to sell before the day was done. Accordingly, and God already knew this, we did not need all the workers, as originally thought, after all.
Just think, we almost threw out the baby with the bath water because every detail wasn’t lining up the way we planned for this fundraiser. Let’s park here for a moment. Is the scenario I’ve just described a volunteer issue or a trust issue?
We, who are called to ministry, can easily get caught up in “making everything happen” in our realm of influence and function, and God knows I struggle with this too. So note to self: The next time we are working toward a goal that is not coming together can we trust God to carry us? Even if the end result does not mirror the success of the past or our vision for it does not mean that God is not at work successfully accomplishing His will. Amen? Amen. For more tips regarding Women’s Ministry, check out this good stuff HERE.
We, God’s people, have a long history of making things complicated. For instance, in Acts 15, some new converts who had previously been Pharisees began telling Gentiles that they must be circumcised before becoming a follower of Christ. Let me see if I can think of any better of a deterrent to receiving the gospel message than this…hmmmm….nope, can’t beat that one!
Can you imagine? Here you are, hearing the greatest news of your life about this man named Jesus who loved you so much He died for you. All you have to do is believe…but wait a minute…you must first complete a medical procedure in your private area…Yikes! These false teachers were throwing out the grace of the Lord’s salvation by faith!
Thankfully, this got straightened out when Paul and Barnabas returned to the church in Jerusalem to debate this topic. But notably on their way, they went through two different towns to share the good news of how the Gentiles were coming to the Lord, and that news brought them all great joy! It’s odd how one group of God’s people desired to obstruct the gospel because it was not done in the way they thought it should be, while others rejoiced about the salvation of others, no questions or added requirements asked. Why can’t we all be more like this?
The other day, one of my daughters called me to ask what I thought about Beth Moore because she was seeing some negative comments about her. I know that Beth has left the Southern Baptist Convention but she has not left sharing the gospel, so I have no negative thoughts toward her. I often hear people warn others about Joel Osteen and other evangelist, but I’d rather spend my time leading people to Jesus, than being naysayers of others who present Jesus to the world in a different manner or denomination than I do.
“Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.”
“Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me,for whoever is not against us is for us. Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward. Mark 9:38-41
So let me encourage you today to keep the gospel simple, work with what God has given you, trust Him, and be aware of when you are becoming a needless and counterproductive naysayer to the good work of faith. This is my prayer for the body of Christ.
This is my setup this week in my structured prayer journal. Speaking of keeping it simple, you will love the Simplicity pattern envelope in my decor. If you are interested in getting a copy of my award-winning book, Organizing Your Prayer Closet (Abingdon Press) so, you too, can enjoy the gift of structured prayer journaling, you can click on my affiliate link below in the About Gina section. If you make a purchase from this link, I will be paid a small percentage of what you pay for the purchase of my book. Thank you!