Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…. Ephesians 3:20 (NIV)
When our daughters were growing up, I made the choice that my default parental answer would always be “yes.” I believed that one of the most important lessons I could instill in my children is an understanding of how capable they were.
- “Yes” you can play in the sprinkler, because life is about joyful everyday experiences
- “Yes” you can stay up and read in bed, because reading will expand your world
- “Yes” you can go on a missions trip to the other side of the world, because God doesn’t put an age limit on spiritual gifts or who He can/will use for His purposes, and neither should I.
- “Yes” you can try out for [fill in the blank], because I believe you can do it, I want you to believe in yourself, and even if you fail you will learn an invaluable life lesson that will benefit you the rest of your life.
Don’t get me wrong. The answer was “no” on occasion, but as a parent I wanted my “no” to have good reason that I could clearly articulate. I’ve seen too many parents whose default is always “no,” and the negative impact on their children:
- “No” you can’t because I don’t trust you
- “No” you can’t because you’re a kid
- “No” you can’t because I never could
- “No” you can’t because I don’t want to have to deal with it
I live in a world of fellow adults who have no idea of how capable they are or the difference they could make in the lives of others because the default answer they’ve known all their lives has been “no.” I wanted the default answer in my home to be “yes” so that my children would realize that they are even more capable than they themselves realized, and that I believed in them. More importantly, I believe that God believes in them, has gifted them uniquely, and can do immeasurably more through them than they could ask or imagine.
This past weekend we had the joy of spending some time with Taylor. She shared with us what’s been going on in her soul of late, which she put into her blog post on Sunday. She quoted from Rob Bell’s sermon which dovetails nicely with this morning’s post:
If you are a disciple, you have committed your entire life to being like your rabbi. If you see your rabbi walk on water, what do you immediately want to do? Walk on water. So this disciple gets out on the water and he starts to sink, so he yells, “Jesus save me!” And Jesus says, “You of little faith, why do you doubt?” Who does Peter lose faith in? Not Jesus; Jesus is doing fine. Peter loses faith in himself. Peter loses faith that he can do what the rabbi is doing. If the rabbi calls you to be his disciple, then he believes you can actually be like him. As we read the stories of Jesus’ life with his disciples, what do we find that frustrates him to no end? When his disciples lose faith in themselves. He doesn’t get frustrated with them because they are incapable, but because of how capable they are.
So Jesus, at the end of his time, tells the disciples to go make more disciples. Then he leaves. He dies. He promises to send his Spirit to guide and direct them, but the future of the movement is in their hands. He doesn’t stick around to make sure they don’t screw it up. He’s gone. He actually trusts that they can do it. God has an incredibly high view of people. God believes people are capable of amazing things. I’ve been told that I need to believe in Jesus, which is a good thing. But what I’m learning is that Jesus believes in me.
“Yes, you can.”