"SMALL STRAWS IN A SOFT WIND", a daily devotional by Marsha Burns, was SO on time today. It read, "Resist the temptation to take on more than you can effectively handle. Any over-extension could deplete your resources physically, emotionally, financially or spiritually. Exercise sound judgment when making choices, and you would do well to be conservative. The enemy would love to stretch you beyond your abilities. If you need wisdom ask Me and I will give you the guidance you need, says the Lord." The scripture referenced was James 1:5. "If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him."
It's funny how, in all of the details you are given about what you are being asked to do, one little detail is often and conveniently overlooked--your compensation. Some people don't care how you finance your participation in their affairs or if what they are asking creates a hardship. You can always tell when you decline, that you have put them in a position to examine their motives AND their budget.
Some people aren't disappointed that you can't make it, or can't do what they ask. They're disappointed that they now have to do the right thing and pay someone else for what they expected YOU to do for nothing. (It's amazing how funds can be found for everything except what people want YOU to do. All of a sudden you hear manipulative praises sung about "ministry" and "humility" and "volunteerism".) The first time you say "No" you just might:
1. Be on your way to paying your OWN bills in full and on time, have a little money in YOUR pocket, and more time for your own family and interests.
2. Find out just how much what you have done in the past was acknowledged and appreciated.
3. Cause someone to repent of their habit of shamelessly taking advantage of you and undervaluing your time, talent and effort.
4. Save someone from having to think up another outright lie or weak excuse.
5. Cure someone of their selfish, miserly ways and motivate them to see the rightness and fairness of paying a fair and timely wage for the work they want done.
6. Remind someone that they shouldn't treat your livelihood as if it is their hobby.
7. Inform someone that people who profited by expecting and demanding that others work for little or nothing, were called "SLAVE MASTERS" not "event planners", "project managers", "committee chairpersons", "talent coordinators"----and certainly not "friends".
It's not a new message, but treat people the way you would like to be treated. Respect the work that others do.