For most of us pitchers, we have too many glasses to pour into. Somedays it seems endless, the number of people who need a drink of us. Most of our glasses, those people who need us to pour into them over and over, are supposed to be there, and we do need to continue to pour. Our children, grandchildren, friends, parents, coworkers (this list goes on and on), they need us, and it’s a good thing that we are pouring into their lives.
Today’s blog is more about our discernment. Are all those glasses really ours to pour into? I know in my history, I have continued to pour into others long after my season was over. When we have needy people who expect us to pour, it’s too hard to tell them no. We as the pourer have set a standard and the pouree expects us to continue. No is such a difficult word to say when the need is great.
Here’s my point: Sometimes we hinder God’s work in the lives of others when we continue to pour, bail out, give money to, enable, whatever you want to call it. At times, those we love need a larger dose of Jesus and a lesser dose of us. No matter our good intentions, we can’t solve the problems of everyone. If we continue to soften the blow of the consequences of others’ choices, how will they learn? If we keep carrying them, how will their legs become strong enough to walk? If they never feel the burn, why would they ever stop reaching for the flame? Enough cliches, but you get my point.
I return to the word discernment. You absolutely must learn to use discernment when dealing with others. You need to learn to pray about the extent of your involvement in the lives of those who expect you to pour. And just as important, you need to learn how to hear God’s response. Learn to listen and heed His direction through the Word and by His Spirit. It is one of the most freeing feelings to tell someone no when you know God has given you the answer. The one who hears no won’t enjoy or understand your position, but that’s not your responsibility.
One of the clearest ways God has given me a “butt out” was on the 19th of the month one year many years ago. I was praying about the expectations of someone close to me, something they pretty much demanded I do for them. That morning I read in my quiet time, as I always do, in a continuous flow of reading. Meaning, I didn’t go and search for the answer. I picked up where I had left off the day before. At that time I was reading a chapter in Proverbs each day – which I highly recommend for wisdom. I got to this verse: “A hot-tempered man must pay the penalty: if you rescue him, you will have to do it again.” Proverbs 19:19
You can’t imagine how well that verse fit my situation that day. When I said no to the person and situation, I wasn’t popular with more than one person I loved. But oh, well, God was on my side. Remember, I’m not saying this is easy, but to do the best for people who need more Jesus and less you, you are loving them well when you give them God’s no.
Now for you: What situations have you faced where an unpopular no was best for someone you cared for?
Thanks for hanging with me again today.
Blessings to you and all your glasses. 😉