Is It a Reason, Or Just an Excuse?
Jesus replied: ”A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’
“But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’
“Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’
“Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’
“The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’
“‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’
“Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full. I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’” Luke 14:16-23
My wife took the photo of the two wheel chair participants in this years Corinth Coca Cola 10K event this year. They always have the wheel chairs go first before the rest of the runners go. I finally looked back at the photos she took and this one really had me thinking about all the excuses we all make for not doing something. These guys for whatever reason have lost the capacity to walk and are limited to the wheel chair. What is so awesome about these elite athletes is they don’t mope around saying they can’t do something because they don’t have any legs. They have decided to take life and make the best of it they can even if they don’t have the legs to do it. What’s even more impressive is I saw a photo a friend I mine took of a triathlete who had no legs. He more than likely was a veteran from the war, but what was so cool was he dragged himself out of the swim and moved to the wheel chair that was used for his bike and put himself in it. It really brings a tear to my eye, not to pity these people, but to respect their tenacity. What these handicapped people do takes even more guts than doing a regular triathlon or 6.2 mile run. I’m so impressed and inspired, because when I look at them, I think wow, I really don’t have and excuse not to do something I know I should do. Before I go on though, I need to tell you the difference between reasons and excuses. Reasons are circumstances that may occur that are completely out of our control. Excuses are circumstances that are within our control that we can use as a reason not to do something.
Jesus felt being excuse driven is not something desired for our lives. He felt so strongly that He outlined it very clear in the above parable. Nobody wanted to go to the party so they came up with some good excuses as to why they couldn’t make it. I used to be excuse driven, but I now live by a couple of quotes. A friend gave me one that is pinned to my bulletin board in my office. The first one says, “Excuses are the nails used to build a house of failure.” (Don Wilder and Bill Rechin). The one on my bulletin board says, “There is a difference between interest and commitment. When you are interested in something, you only do it when it is convenient. When you are committed to something you accept no excuses and produce only results.” (Kenneth Blanchard). If you feel like a constant failure, you may be excuse driven. When you let your excuses take control of your life, you really are out of control. We have excuses as to why we can’t grow in Christ. We allow shame to take a much larger role in our lives than what we should. I will be shunned if I share this part of my life with someone else. We think we have to get ourselves clean before we get involved in serving the church, not understanding that maybe if we are at a serving capacity God will grow us past whatever was holding us back. Another excuse, and this one is a tough one; loving someone who has a sinful lifestyle. The fear is we don’t want to look like we approve of their lifestyle. The truth is if we give that person some grace maybe that will get them to the point of change in their lives.
You can see that excuses can cause a great deal of damage to our lives. We cannot have steady progress forward with using excuses as a vehicle to get somewhere. Whatever we are striving for, we need to be committed to, not just interested. For me the conditions for exercise were never perfect. It was either too hot or too cold to go for a walk. I was too tired; I promise myself I will do it tomorrow. I know this food is bad for me, but just one more week and I will change what I am eating. My all time favorite one is hitting the snooze alarm multiple times so that I don’t have enough time to read the bible and pray. No matter what the conditions are, I go. I took that excuse away when I joined a health club with an indoor track. My snooze alarm is never used. It comes down to choice. Are you going to allow excuses to take away the God given opportunities out there for you? Alternatively, are you going to accept the possible difficult way to go and just do it. A few years ago, Nike had an ad campaign with “just do it.” Nike is the Greek goddess of victory. I think that says a lot. If we would just do it, we will find a victory. Don’t allow God given opportunities to get past you with excuses. You will be on the road to regret and bitterness if you do. Step out of the comfort zone and just do it!!!
© [David Howard], [David's Body Temple], 2011-2015.