Too busy to be a blessing

Are you a people-pleaser? Do you work hard to make people like you, or at least to avoid people not liking you?

(Before you think I’m being judgmental, understand that I’m more guilty of this than anyone.)

A great way to tell if you’re a people-pleaser is how easily you can tell someone “no.” Of course, we should be welcoming and pursuing opportunities to serve others. We need to honestly evaluate how often we are saying “no,” and, more importantly, why we decline opportunities.

Jesus calls us to follow His example of service, to serve and to give up our lives to bless others (Mark 10:45; John 15:13). And if you are a disciple of Christ, you readily agree and seek to live this out.

But did you ever consider that our biggest obstacle to blessing others is our refusal to say “no”?

Or maybe this is more accurate: Before we can say “yes” to being salt and light in this world, we need to say “no” to some things which are already part of our lives.

Saying “no” to lifestyle choices can run the gamut of possibilities. We may need to deny our personal desires and spiritual apathy, in order to be a blessing to others. And we may need to say “no” to choices that are selfless, but which may be limiting us to something else God may have for us.

Maybe we need to say…

  • “No” to sleeping late on Sunday mornings, so we can say “yes” to serving at church.
  • Or similarly, “no” to rushing out after teaching in order to get your toddler down for naptime.
  • “No” to being a room mom, which dozens of others want to do, so you can say “yes” to a less-desirable serving opportunity at your child’s school.
  • “No” to stressing about having a spotless home, so you can say “yes” to pursuing Jesus and being inviting to others.
  • “No” to time spent at work or lifelong hobbies, so you can say “yes” to leading your family or building deeper community with friends.
  • “No” to certain extracurricular activities for your children, so your family can say “yes” to a missional opportunity that God can reveal to you.
  • “No” to where you feel comfortable, so you can say “yes” to engaging others where they can feel at ease.


As a people-pleaser who craves – no, idolizes – appreciation from others, I’ve been making these same type decisions over the past year. I’ve said “no” to some job opportunities, I’ve taken an extended break from blogging, and I’ve made conscious decisions to not take some volunteer opportunities (which is hard for a guy who loves serving behind the scenes). We even declined an opportunity that our kids would have enjoyed, because it would have limited the time we all needed to be involved in our community.

But every time I’ve said “no,” God has made us aware of other needs that we never would had seen, opening doors to serving opportunities that better suited our gifts and experiences.

As summer winds down, now is a great time to evaluate what you need to say “no” to, in order to see what God may say “yes” to. Even more importantly, invite your community to speak into your life in this area. Allow yourself to be sharpened (Proverbs 27:17), so that you can be a better instrument for God.

But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:40-43


-Joey Espinosa