Summary: God may be calling you. Are you being obedient or making excuses? Here are 3 common excuses used by Christians.
A small boy was eating pancakes and while no one was in the kitchen, he helped himself to some more topping. He used about half a bottle on one pancake and you can imagine the mess it made. His grandma returned to the kitchen to find the sticky aftermath. “Johnny,” she asked, “why did you use too much topping?” The boy replied, “Granny, it wasn’t me. My pretend friend made this mess.” This is a classic excuse.
We are all guilty of making excuses. God calls us to do something, and we try to explain why we can’t. Moses serves as an excellent example of someone who made excuses, but was used by God in spite of the excuses.
You know the story. Moses was tending sheep one day when a nearby bush was ablaze but not consumed by the flames. Moses’ curiousity got the best of him so he walked over to see what was happening. Moses walked over to see a burning bush, but had an encounter with the Lord. The Lord revealed his plan, and Moses made every attempt to tell the Lord why it would not work.
When arriving at the “burning bush,” most people are like Moses. They make excuses as to why God’s plan won’t work. Making excuses seems to be the natural response in an attempt to get out of what we don’t understand or really want.
The Philadelphia Highway Patrol has recorded some of the more humourous excuses they have been given by speeders. One man said he was rushing to the hospital after being stung by a bee. He was allergic to bee stings, and pointed to the bee on his dash. The problem with his excuse was the bee had begun the process of decomposition having been on the dash a day or two.
An officer asked another man if he saw the speed limit signs. The man responded, “No sir. I must have been going to fast to see them.” An elderly gentleman was stopped, and after trying to make excuses for his speeding, he finally just asked, “Do you offer a senior citizen’s discount?” The excuses didn’t work. The offenders still received their traffic tickets.
Moses’ excuses did not work either. For each excuse Moses offered, God offered a response. We too make the same excuses as Moses, and the Lord offers us a response.
3 Common Excuses
1. No one’s listening. – Moses said no one would listen to him. They would just accuse him of being in the sun too long. God dismisses this excuse by obvious work in Moses’ life.
Do you ever feel like you are talking and no one is listening, so you just stop talking? Maybe you ask yourself, “Why do I even say anything? It is like talking to a brick wall.” Like Moses, the Lord’s work in our lives is obvious. And, while it may seem no one is listening, it turns out they are paying attention.
Reimaging Faith Formation for the 21st Century cites studies showing our family members are listening. For those of you who are grandparents, you are the second most influencial person in your grandkids’ life. You follow only their parents, and in some cases, you are in the number one slot. You sit in a position to speak a lot of wisdom into their lives as they witness the Lord’s obvious work in your life. Just when you think no one is listening, it turns out they pay much attention.
The work the Lord is doing in our lives is obvious. It stands as a testimony to the words we say. This excuse didn’t work for Moses, and it doesn’t work for us either.
2. I can’t. – Moses tells the Lord he is not a good speaker, so how can he stand before Pharoah and say anything. God responds by saying, “I gave you the abilities you have, so go, and I will help you.”
We may feel we are inadequate for God’s calling. We know we should do something, but we try to convince ourselves and the Lord we are not capable. We identify a barrier that could cause us to fail, and instead of jumping it, we hide behind it.
Moses identified a barrier of speech. What is your barrier? It could be any number of things. No matter the barrier, the Lord’s response is the same. “I gave you abilities and I will help you, so go.”
3. Not me, please. – After all other excuses fail, Moses simply asks the Lord to send somebody else. The Lord tells Moses to stop making excuses and go. He has already put provisions for him in place. Moses is the one God called for this purpose, and the Lord will help Moses accomplish it. He began a good work in Moses, and he will bring it to completion.