Some of the healthiest people I know are the ones who know how to say “no”—especially to good things. They realize that they have limits: They’re human and need sleep. Maybe they want to spend time with their families. They have full-time jobs and ministry commitments. Perhaps they even recognize they’re only gifted in so many ways…
They are limited by time and place. They know it, and they embrace it.
And then there’s the rest of us.
The ones who have a tendency to jump at every opportunity, regardless of time, skills, or gifting, especially in the age of platform™ and influence. We forget that we are finite. We are not like God, who is infinite and omnipresent. Who is in all places at all times and knows all things. We are limited to existing within a single point in time. And this is good for us—these limits are God’s kindness toward us—because if we didn’t have them, we’d probably destroy ourselves. (Or at least I would…)
I was reminded of this again reading Zack Eswine’s The Imperfect Pastor. In it, there’s a single line—a secondary subheading, actually—that sticks out every time I scan the book:
The boundaries of your calling reveal God’s pastoral care for you.
That’s it. It’s so simple, isn’t it? But every time I read that, it’s like a piano’s being dropped on my head.
Why? Because it’s so easy to forget. I can be jealous over other people’s accomplishments. I can wish that I had the influence or whatever they had. But it’s dumb. Like, super-dumb. And it’s dumb because I keep forgetting that God is being kind to me when I don’t have those things.
If I never have a book that makes a bestseller list, it’s because, ultimately, that’s better for me in God’s overall plan. It’s his kindness towards me. If no one signs up for my webinar,1 and I can’t make my platform take off, it’s God’s kindness toward me.
On and on I could go, but it’s one of those things that I see so often in myself, and I am concerned about with so many others as they seem to be chasing influence and notoriety and all these other things that don’t really matter all that much.
If you have them, great. Steward them to the glory of God. If God gives you additional influence, awesome. Use it to the Glory of God. But if he doesn’t, it’s not because he is withholding something good. He is being kind to you and not giving you something that won’t lead you to love Jesus more.