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Summary: God expects our lives to be greattestaments to his love

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Great Excuses and Greater Expectations, Luke 14:15-24

Eric A. Snyder, Minister, Farwell Church of Christ

July 14, 2002

I came across this list that could prove to be very helpful if you ever fall asleep at work. The following is a list of excuses you can use when caught sleeping at your desk.

"They told me at the blood bank this might happen."

"Whew! Guess I left the top off the liquid paper"

"I wasn’t sleeping! I was meditating on the mission statement and envisioning a new paradigm!"

"This is one of the seven habits of highly effective people!"

"I was actually doing a "Stress Level Elimination Exercise Plan" (SLEEP) I learned at the last mandatory seminar you made me attend.

"Darn! Why did you interrupt me? I had almost figured out a solution to our biggest problem."

"...Amen"

Now those are meant to be in fun but there was a recent article in a major newspaper that gave out actual notes that parents had written to schools so that their children could be excused for their absence.

"Please excuse Lisa for being absent. She was sick and I had her shot."

"Dear School: Please ekscuse John being absent on Jan. 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, and also 33."

"John has been absent because he had two teeth taken out of his face."

"Please excuse Ray Friday from school. He has very loose vowels."

"Please excuse Tommy for being absent yesterday. He had diarrhoea and his boots leak."

"Please excuse Jennifer for missing school yesterday. We forgot to get the Sunday paper off the porch, and when we found it Monday, we thought it was Sunday."

Someone has said that excuses are like belly buttons, everyone has one.

We excuse ourselves from a lot of things. If we miss school we give an excuse. If we miss family time we often give an excuse. When we are stopped for speeding many of us try to give an excuse. If we are a few minutes late to the office we give a detailed explanation. When we are absent from spending time with God we try to give an excuse.

That’s what’s happening in our story today. Jesus is telling a story about a generous host who wants people to come and share in a rather glamorous feast. And the people make some excuses.

Now I don’t want you to misunderstand me today. I know you know this text and have heard it presented as a case for faithful church attendance every Sunday.

But if you look at this text as if Jesus is merely telling people to go to church then you are missing the bulk of the meaning. And the truth is sometimes ministers get frustrated that church attendance is not quite what it should be so we pull out this text and tell people they need to be in church. Which is probably the greatest disservice anyone could do with this story.

Because this story is so much more than that. If you are absent from this place you will most likely be called after a little while because people here care about you. We want you to be a part of what God is doing here but it is very important to us that you know how missed you are and how loved you are. So when you call someone who is not here you should not be nagging, you should be showing genuine concern and empathy for a friend.

And if you were to ever be on the other end of such a conversation we hope you would appreciate the compassion.

But too often these conversations become confrontations. Excuses are doled out exceptions are made and acceptance is not felt.

If you miss a few worship times you may find yourself making excuses but the deeper issue is: Where are you with God?

What kind of things do you say to God in that brief moment of realization that you forgot to spend time with Him is prayer.

What do you say to God as you are writing out the offering check

What do you say to God when you stray from your commitments to him

What excuses do you make when you neglect The truth of his word.

See it’s not about the excuses that you give to other people this text is about what you say to God when it’s just the two of you.

Lord, today was really busy, I just didn’t get around to talking to you.

God tomorrow will be better but right now I’m so tired.

We push off the expectations and begin with the excuses.

Have you ever noticed that of all the things we excuse we always excuse the stuff that is good for us, the stuff that nurtures our soul and feeds our brains.

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