8 October, 2021

The Law of the Bigger Yes!

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by | 1 July, 2021 | 1 comment

A simple text suddenly changed my plans for the next day. My best friend asked if I could meet him at the Denver airport for breakfast before he left on a family vacation. I responded emphatically, “Absolutely!” 

The reason I immediately set aside my previous plans was simple—I suddenly had a bigger yes burning inside me! Some days are like that—we experience a life-enriching opportunity that changes everything for the better. Few people in my life lift my spirits more than Cam Huxford, my friend of 45 years. As Paul once said of his young protégé, Timothy, “I have no one else like him!”

Live for Something Definite  

It’s been said you can’t go out and make old friends; you either have them or you don’t.I’m blessed to have many good friends, both old and new. Virtually all friendships have been made the same way . . . slowly. I have cultivated them over the years by making time for these friends as they have made time for me. They are always part of the bigger yes of my life.

All of my work is relational. At times it can be inconvenient and even exhausting, but more than anything, it is deeply fulfillingI know this is what I am called to do, namely, to encourage Christian leaders, and especially to connect them with one another. This is my passion; it’s my bigger yes!

I’ve heard that to leave a lasting legacy, we must live for something definite. My definite desire is to end the soul-crushing burden of pastoral isolation. I know firsthand that the isolated leader is the vulnerable leader. I’m out to help change that, and God gives me the privilege of catalyzing life-enriching connections for others almost every day. This is deeply gratifying.

Over the years I’ve called it the Law of the Bigger Yes!I believe there is no substitute for having an unshakable sense of ought-ness that a certain something must be addressed . . . now! I resonate with the apostle Paul, who wrote, “I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me.” Paul knew what his task was, and he clearly stated it in Acts 20:24: “the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.”

Celebrate God-Given Assignments

What’s your big yes? Do those closest to you know what it is?Once again, Paul said something about it: “But you, Timothy, certainly know what I teach, and how I live, and what my purpose in life is. You know my faith, my patience, my love, and my endurance” (2 Timothy 3:10, New Living Translation). We all need to see ourselves, and to be seen by those close to us, as devoted to something bigger than ourselves.

  • What is that for you? 
  • Who are those for you? 

What’s your special assignment? My wife and I just enjoyed a four-hour visit with an inspiring couple. We count them among our true heroes. As the psalmist said, “The godly people in the land are my true heroes! I take pleasure in them!” (Psalm 16:3, NLT). Those who enjoy “hero status” for us all live with a sense of assignment and have three things in common: long obedience, deep joy, and strong generosity.

After a great meal, our relaxing conversation led to our friend smiling and saying, “I like to make money so that I can give it away!” He is enjoying the high privilege of knowing what he is called to do. Again, I’m inspired by the psalmist: “Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance” (Psalm 16:5-6).

All of God’s assignments are good ones, and all come with certain boundaries. I definitely don’t have the moneymaking gift my buddy has, but then again, he would readily admit he doesn’t have my gifts either. Maybe that’s why we have enjoyed such a great partnership over the years. We celebrate each other’s God-given assignments. And it’s those divine assignments that keep us energized and give us a reason to lean into the future. 

It’s been said that your vision is whatever you’d delay going to Heaven in order to accomplish—that’s the ultimate big yes!

First Timothy 1:1 stated it this way: “I, Paul, am an apostle on special assignment for Christ, our living hope” (The Message). Do you have a sense you are on “special assignment”—that something important has been given to you to do . . . a calling that matters? 

Live in Response to God’s Grace

New York Times columnist David Brooks suggested we can think about life as either “the well-planned life” or “the summoned life.” As an avid planner, I think about that distinction daily. What does it matter if my life is consumed with accomplishments if they’re not in keeping with my special assignment? C.S. Lewis said a person’s greatest dignity is not found in initiative but in response. In a sense, we all are to live in response to the grace of God. These assignments, be they large or small, are ultimately more of a blessing than a burden. Living with a sense of summons is ennobling and inspiring.

This I know, when I sense I’m on divine assignment, that bigger yes changes everything!I sat with several pastor friends and we took turns confessing our deepest fears. One man’s words really resonated with me. He said, “My greatest fear is not simply falling into immorality of some sort but failing to fulfill the assignment God has given to me and failing to seize the opportunities God has set before me.” 

Our ultimate calling is to respond to the summons of the bigger yes assignment God has for us.

<a href="https://christianstandard.com/author/alanahlgrim/" target="_self">Alan Ahlgrim</a>

Alan Ahlgrim

After 50 years of ministry, including almost three decades as founding pastor of Rocky Mountain Christian Church in Colorado, Alan Ahlgrim now serves as the chief soul-care officer of Covenant Connections for Pastors. He invests heavily in helping other leaders serve well and finish well by connecting them in soul-enriching covenant groups. These small, in-depth, transformational communities are helping produce renewal and resilience. While most of Alan’s work is in Colorado, he is catalyzing a national network of soul care groups. Each group meets together over three years and is led by a trained facilitator. For more information, visit covenant-connections.org.

1 Comment

  1. Hal

    Wonderful and timely article. I have been giving much thought to “The bigger yes’s” in my own Christian walk lately.
    It saddens me to to think that for many believers, the yes’s for many will, in the end, be not bigger than those of the unbeliever.
    For the Christian, an entire life lived, should consist of bigger yes’s than a lifetime of being only impassioned with nothing of larger eternal consequence than maybe a bowling or golf score. Unfortunately, for many followers, this will be about the sum of it.
    Could it be that Jesus provided for all believers the biggest yes of all yes’s with his final command of the “Great Commission”; which should be the lifelong passion and big yes of the church and all followers of Christ. We know from His command that, for our Lord, the biggest yes of all is in saving the lost and making disciples. Otherwise He would have commanded something else. Shouldn’t His biggest yes, also be our biggest yes as well?
    Unfortunately, in many Churches, or circles of Christian conversation, this is hardly mentioned these days.
    For me, personally, this is my biggest yes. In September I will be teaching a Wednesday night class at our church on personal discipleship.

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