Luke 14:17-20 “And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.”
“Excuses are like armpits; we all have two of them and they both stink.”
A somewhat base phrase, but appropriate for the subject matter this morning. The use of excuse has grown to be an art form for some.
As many of you know, I am a director for a faith-based addiction program; RU Recovery. In my work with addicts, I have heard some of the most elaborate excuses. I should begin to collect and publish them to expose those who hear such things.
Often, we are able to identify and call out others for their ‘excuse-making’ and fail to acknowledge or admit our own. For instance:
There are those who are always looking for a better opportunity. They do what I call, trading up socially. It goes like this.
You invite me to a function at your house. During the time between the invite and the event, I receive an offer from someone more prominent in our circle. I call you to say I forgot that I had something else on my calendar; I got called into work, or my mother was sick.
In this age of social media, our excuse gets blown away by a casual picture seen by your first host and they realize your priorities do not include them. I think we get the picture.
Probably one of the most incredulous acts of excuse-making is what we tell God when He calls us to the work. I have come to realize a few things that have quashed any desire to make excuse to my Heavenly Father for what He may want me to do.
His very character tells me I cannot hide anything from Him.
He is Omniscient, Omnipresent, and Omnipotent. All-knowing, all-present, and all-powerful. He knows the number of hairs on my head. He knows the thoughts I do not speak, and the words before I say them. He knows my end from the beginning and the will He gave me for my life.
I am His purchased possession. I am not my own.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
One of the first meditations for every saved child of God should be to take up the price paid for the redemption of their soul. Think on the path Jesus took to Calvary. The pain, the anguish, the suffering, the rejection, and ultimately, the separation from His Heavenly Father to accomplish the final act of salvation. We should remind ourselves soberly to keep it before us far more often that we do.
My loving, Heavenly Father has works that He has chosen for me to accomplish today.
Ephesians 2:10 “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”
Whatever the work, He has also given me promises to fulfill His will today. The task may seem too big, too high, too ominous to accomplish. But God does not see as we do. We see with the eyes of the flesh and try to do it in our own strength. God sees what He can do through us when we yield to the Holy Spirit. We often quote:
Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”
But we fail to trust the very power He gives to do what He commands. Then, we reach into our bag of excuses and out comes:
“I’m not smart enough, or strong enough to do anything like that.”
“God can’t use me; I’m damaged goods”.
“I’m too busy”.
I remind myself of just Who it is I serve and what He can and will do.
Luke 18:27 “And he said, The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.”
I may be facing a mountain I cannot climb. I may not have the answers needed to help someone in need. I may be at a loss to find a solution to a problem. But my faith relies on the fact that God has answered in the past, and will answer according to His will in His time.
Excuses arise when my faith fails.
I use many passages to encourage myself when I feel my faith beginning to fail.
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”
Philippians 1:6 “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:”
Isaiah 54:17 “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and their righteousness is of me, saith the LORD.”
Do not allow yourself to deceive yourself into using such excuses as would keep you from doing the will of God today. Fight it with every fiber of your being. Giving into these excuses opens the door to unbelief, disobedience, and rebellion. In Jude we find:
Jude 20-22 “But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost, Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life. And of some have compassion, making a difference:”
Make a difference today – don’t excuse it away.