>I once heard an old story about George Washington, it has all the hallmarks of a legend and may never have happened but this is how I remember it.
There was once a traveller who needed to cross a river in the early part of spring. The water was high and running very quickly and he was on foot. While he stood on the shore contemplating the best way to get across he was met by a group of men travelling on horse-back. Since the river was so high even crossing on horse-back would be treacherous.
It was obvious by the attire of this group and the way they carried themselves that they where powerful men of means. After looking them over, the traveller approached one of the men and asked if he could ride with him across the river. The man did not hesitate and said yes. After they were safely across one of the other men asked the traveller what made him ask the president of the United States for a ride. Surprised the traveller responded that he did not recognize the president but that as he looked over the group all the other men had “no” faces, he pick the man who had a “yes” face.
Too often in the past my default answer to any question has been no. It has become so ingrained in my response that sometimes I feel like it’s been tattooed to my forehead. I’m so caught up in my own world, my own pre-occupations, needs, worries, wants and desires that I brush by everyone. I may as well be screaming “NO! – Leave me Alone! – Don’t Bother Me!”
Last week I decided on my New Year’s resolution. I know, most people figure this out and make a bold pronouncement on Dec 31, next year I’m going to… But most have sadly failed by the middle of January! So I figure by not even making a resolution until now I’m ahead of the game.
Are you ready? Here it is.
2011 will be the year of Yes!
This year I will do my best to say yes to every request. That doesn’t mean I will be able to do everything people ask me to do, there will inevitably be conflicts of time, lack of funds or insurmountable physical barriers. Don’t ask me to jump over the moon or give you a million dollars and don’t ask me to help you move on my wedding anniversary. But if my default setting is yes then I will be more open to giving you the change in my pocket or helping you move on the day after my anniversary.
Will I get taken advantage of? Probably, but the goal here isn’t to judge the motives of others. The goal is to be available, to offer a helping hand and to deepen relationships. If someone tries to take advantage I can be discerning and call them on it but that response need not be an outright “no” but rather a sincere questioning of real need and exploration of alternative solutions.
Ultimately it’s not about me. It’s about the relationship I can have with my fellow man. Fear of being taken advantage of weakens relationship and destroys the opportunity to show love and compassion to those who need it most.
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. [1 John 4:18]