I Can’t…

by Chad Stuart  |  June 27, 2012

“I can’t.”

Those are the words my dad spoke two-and-a-half years ago. It was his response to a question I had put to him: “Dad will you do a Bible study with one of our contacts?”

“I can’t.”

Let me tell you a little bit about my dad. Almost all of his adult life he has been a teacher. He taught in Adventist academies for six years, and then at Pacific Union College, Loma Linda University, Andrews University and University of the Pacific. He has degrees in both education and physical therapy. He has two Master’s Degrees and a Doctorate. He founded a Masters-level physical therapy program from scratch, and was then its director for more than a decade.

“I can’t.”

It seemed like a pretty ridiculous answer.

And even more significant than his academic accomplishments, was his constantly telling me how much he loved Jesus and how much Jesus was blessing his life.

“I can’t.”

Given this, it was an even more unbelievable answer!

“I can’t” is really “I won’t.”

“I can’t.”

Is the answer I hear a lot when, as a pastor, I speak to church members about giving Bible studies to non-church members.

I used to accept this answer as legitimate.

“I can’t.”

I use to believe some people really couldn’t, but I don’t anymore.


Well, because, “I can’t” just doesn’t fit in with the promises of Scripture!

“Go thereforeand make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19, 20).

“I can’t.”

It doesn’t seem go hand-in-hand with, “I am with you always.”

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).

“I can’t.”

It just doesn’t work with, “you shall receive power”

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it” (John 14:12-14).

“I can’t.”

It does not correlate with, “greater works than these [you] will do” or “whatever you ask” or “If you ask anything… I will do.”

“I can’t.”

“But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you” (John 14:26).

So even if my dad had no formal academic degrees and zero teaching experience, it would seem, well, just plain wrong for a man (or woman!) that says he loves Jesus and is blessed by Jesus to say…

“I can’t.”

“I can’t” is foolish for any of us to say.

“But it is not my gift which is why…”

“I can’t.”

Friend, please hear me, knowing the Bible and simply sharing what you know with another person has nothing to do with gifts. Even if you are nervous, you can simply read something word-for-word to someone! They will be blessed!

“I can’t” just doesn’t fit in with the promises of Scripture!

I can!

Come to Jesus and… do!

So the only way “I can’t” works is if that is the answer to this question:

“Are you capable of caring about the eternal salvation of another human being?”

If you can say “I can’t” to that, well then you’re off the hook, I suppose.

But that wouldn’t go with…

“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you,that you may be sons of your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:44, 45).

In other words, if you’re a Christian—a Jesus follower—”I can’t” never works when it comes to sharing the truths of Scripture with someone.

So let’s be real and admit that…

“I can’t”

is really

“I won’t.”

And after we admit that, let’s repent of it! And trust Jesus to help us move from…

“I can’t”

which is…

“I won’t”


“I can!”


“I will!”

My dad did, and, praise Jesus, I have had the privilege of baptizing many people he has studied the Bible with.

Chad Stuart is the Senior Pastor of the Visalia Seventh-day Adventist Church and co-founder/pastor of The Ark church plant in the Central California Conference. He is the husband of his best friend Christina and they are the proud parents of three boys, Dayton, Landon, and the unnamed still in utero. Chad enjoys reading, distance running, and Mexican Pizzas (with no meat) from Taco Bell. You can follow Chad on twitter: @chadNstuart or on his blog: www.chadnstuart.com.

Chad Stuart Pastor
Visalia Adventist Church & The Ark
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  • Andrea Savel

    I thank God and you soooo much for this powerful words! They unmask my inside but so I’m able to repent and to be encouraged by our Lord Jesus Christ.

  • David Asscherick

    Thanks for writing this Chad. Great stuff; creatively communicated!

  • Aleksandr

    And what about “it’s not my gift”?

  • Angela Eller

    This is great Pastor! Would make a very powerful sermon! The last quarterly was on witnessing and I can’t tell you how many times I heard people say in class that teaching, preaching, giving bible studies or using the word of God is not their ‘gift’ and all they have to do is just live a good life. Hmmm…by that reasoning, Jesus didn’t need to open his mouth and talk about His Father but ‘just live a good life’. I have been one of those people in the past who has said ‘I can’t’ which I attribute to a lack of faith on my part and that is something that God, can, will and did increase for me so that I could stand up and say “Yes, I will!”

  • Bryant Ruelas

    Exactly what I needed to hear although I’m still trying to overcome the “I Can’t” part. It’s only a matter a time before I do, nothing a little prayer cant handle 🙂 Thank you for this post!

  • Robert Dinkins

    Thank you Jesus for your forgiveness and the,opportunity to repent of an I can’t attitutude. Thank you Andrea for this. I remember oh Lord the I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH JESUS CHRIST. In the Marriage ceremony, it it always nice to heat the couple say: I WILL. Let us do this for our Lord. I CAN and I WILL. 🙂

  • Liana

    Thank you pastor