“Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field.” (James 4:8 MSG)
I can remember my Mom telling me once that after I learned to say, “Mama” and “Dada” my third word was “No!” Sadly, I used that word much too often as a boy. I didn’t want to eat my vegetables. I didn’t want to go to bed on time. I didn’t want to work in the garden. I didn’t want to stay in the yard when I played. I would much rather read books than help my Mom and Nana with the household chores. In other words, I was a bit of a brat. Being the youngest of three sons and the “baby” of the family, I probably got away with saying “No” a lot more than I should have. I was slightly spoiled to say the least.
At some point in my childhood, though, I began to say “Yes!” a lot more and “No!” a lot less. I can remember carrying heavy pails of slop to feed the pigs we raised for meat and being proud that I was able to do so. I can remember carrying wood for our stove and fresh spring water for us to drink and being happy knowing that I was helping out my Mom and Dad. I can remember studying hard to get good grades in school and the pride in my parents eyes when I got into college. I can remember learning that saying “Yes” could bring more joy into my life than saying “No” ever did.
At some point in my life too, I also began to say “Yes!” to God. I began to ask for His guidance and accept His love. I began to try and be the person He meant for me to be and live the life that He meant for me to live. I began to love myself and others as myself.
I am still learning how to say “Yes”. I still selfishly say “No” far too often. But I know that God is patient with me and is not done with me yet. My only advice to you then is not to wait as long as I did. Say “Yes” to God. Say “Yes” to life. Say “Yes” to love. Say “Yes” to helping others and making this world a better place. Yes may only be a word, but it can change your life.
By: Joseph J. Mazzella