Summary: This is about making excuses.
Have you ever noticed that everyone has an excuse? Take this story for example.
Nine GI’s were late for morning roll call. The first didn’t arrive until 7 PM. The Commanding Officer confronted him and yelled, “Where have you been, soldier?”
The soldier explained. He said, “Sir, I had a date and missed the bus. I hired a cab then it broke down. I went to a farmhouse and bought a horse. Ten miles from camp it fell over dead. I walked the last ten miles and just arrived, sir.”
The CO wasn’t happy but he let it slide. The next 7 guys came with the same story: date, missed bus, cab broke down, horse dead, walked ten miles. When GI number 9 came back the CO was fuming. The soldier said, “Sorry, sir, I had a date and missed the bus, so I hired a cab…”
“Don’t tell me,” the CO yelled, “It broke down.”
“Oh, no, sir,” the GI replied. It’s just that there were so many dead horses in the road that we couldn’t get through.” Don’t you just love excuses?
We are all good at making them. Everyone has an excuse. As an instructor at the community college, I have heard my share of excuses from students. Some are good, and some are down right ridiculous. I’ve heard them all. “My dog ate my homework.” “My car broke down.” “The aliens abducted me.”
We think excuses absolve us of our responsibility.
We can think of many biblical examples of excuses. Abraham thought he was too old to have a child. Jeremiah, the prophet thought he was too young to communicate God’s message. Moses thought he was unable to do God’s work. He gave multiple excuses: he wasn’t a good public speaker; his countrymen wouldn’t accept him, and others. Fortunately, all of these people got beyond that. They didn’t allow their excuses to consume them.
What are excuses anyway?
Jesus told a story about how excuses can cause us great difficulty in our spiritual walk.
Read Luke 14:16-24.
Imagine the scene.
A man plans a banquet. He sends notice to all his close friends and associates. He tells them that he is going to have a celebratory feast on the 30th of the month. He’s not sure what time it is, because he is not sure how many are coming. That means he doesn’t know when the food will be ready. It all depends on how many respond that they will come to his party. The cook needs to know how many are coming so he can prepare the right amount of food.
The man’s servant had to go to the homes and businesses of those who need to be invited to the great feast. He knocked on doors. He extended invitations. “My boss is having a big party on the 30th, would you be able to attend?” He met his share of positive and negative responses. Some said they couldn’t come, but most said they would definitely be there. They marked their planners and made notes in their Palm Pilots.
The servant returned to the boss and reported the number of people that would come. He accounted in detail for each person he was responsible for contacting. “Mr. Jones said he would be unable to attend. Mr. Smith was a definite. Mr. Johnson said he could make it. Mr. Williams said he was looking forward to it.”
The man was pleased with the overwhelming positive response. He said, “Good work, my man.” He then ordered the servant to go to the cook with the list of those who would be attending.
The cook looked over list. He sized up the list. Contemplated a menu. He worked on how much salad he would need. He planned the beverages. He gauged the number of steaks he would need. He considered which desserts would be best for this group. He worked up his menu. The boss looked over the menu, and made a few suggestions. He then approved the menu for the cook to make the necessary preparations.
The servant went to the another aid and gave him the list. He planned and arranged the tables and chairs for maximum efficiency. This was to be the biggest feast the man had ever given.
The maids cleaned and cleaned. The cook cooked. Other servants made other arrangements. The decorations were put out on the tables. The dishes and cups were counted and cleaned. The excitement was building as the 30th approached. The plans were on schedule. The man was excited that so many people would be coming to his banquet. He was well known in the city for his elaborate feasts, and this one would be the biggest and best ever.
The sun rose over the horizon on the 30th. The man crawled out of bed and stretched. Today was the day. He walked through the house. He checked with the maids to make sure every cobweb was cleaned and every dust bunny executed. He checked to see if the other servants had made the preparations. He checked in on the cook to see how the meal preparations were coming. He asked the cook, “What time will dinner be ready?” The cook gave him the exact time. He was used to these feasts and could calculate the exact time that the meal would be ready to serve. The man summoned his servant. He told the servant when the meal would be ready. The boss said, “Go tell those invited when it will start.”