The Difference Between Can And Can’t
By James Bigelow
When my father-in-law heard people voice the excuse, “I can’t do that,” when he knew they could if they tried, his response was usually, “Can can’t and then you can.” I’m not sure where Dad got that philosophy but it was pretty effective. The world would be a more productive and congenial place if more of us would adopt an “I can” attitude.
Wernher von Braun said, “I have learned to use the word impossible with the greatest caution.” A lot of saints know that it is possible for them to do more for the Lord than they actually do but their fleshy nature argues, “You can’t because.” In their hearts they admit, “If I gave up I would have more time to (pray, teach a Sunday School class, serve as a Bible Quiz coach, be a one-on-one witness of Jesus, etc.), or, “If I gave up I would have more dollars a month that I could give for the furtherance of the gospel of Christ in other nations.”
How often do you catch yourself thinking about how things could be if “I can’t” did not dominate your thinking so often? Things like, “I know our church could be bigger but, as pastor, I can’t I can see how our music department could be better, but I cant Our Youth Group ought to be more active but I can’t” and the list goes on. A can’t attitude doesn’t get much done, can it.
Can. Now there is a word that ought to be used in the churches more often. When one has a passion for something, there is no can’t; there is only Can. Can’t casts great ideas to the ground; Can transmits a vision. Can’t spreads a pallor of doubt; Can creates a spirit of faith.
Can does not say “If” or “If only”. Can says, “Let’s do it. God will make a way.” Can’t sits in the bleachers and complains about what can never be, while Can succeeds in carrying the ball to a touchdown. Robert Brault said it this way, “Where the loser saw barriers, the winner saw hurdles.” Can is zealous. can is on fire. Can makes comfortable people uncomfortable. Can messes with the status quo. Can turns a visionary into a missionary. There is a significant difference between the outcome of can and can’t. When you begin to focus on Can, Can’t retreats because it operates in a different realm. When Can is in operation, Can’t is suddenly tongue-tied.
Can is not what is; Can is what must be. The old man says, “I can’t handle being abased, being hungry, or suffering need.” The new man says, “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheth me.” Can laughs at impossibilities and says, “It can be done.” In a time of severe famine, can heard from the Lord and declared, “To morrow about this time shall a measure of fine flour be sold for a shekel, and two measures of barley for a shekel, in the gate of Samaria.” Can’t, however, looked at the circumstances and replied, “Behold, if the Lord would make windows in heaven, might this thing be?” (See 2 Kings 7:1-2).
Can’t looks at the Church fund balance and says, “We can’t afford to have another Missionary Service because we need the money for our local church.” Can looks at the promise of the Lord and at the riches in glory by Christ Jesus and says, “I believe that if we ‘give, it shall be given unto us,” and, “My God shall supply all our needs.”
What can happen in your church in the coming New Year? How many saints will prayerfully and humbly tell their pastor, “I believe we can do more for our missionary families than we have done in the past? I will, by faith, increase my giving by dollars every month so we can take another Partner in Missions.” How many pastors will set an example of generous giving and also release their saints to give to a cause that goes beyond the walls of the local church?
The difference between can and can’t is a lot more than an apostrophe followed by a t.
My prayer and hope for your ministry and church for the coming New Year is that can will increase and that can’t will decrease.