"And they all with one consent began to make excuse . . ." (Luke 14:18)
An excuse is just another attempt to justify oneself, which we as humans are inclined to do on occasion. Many times it would be much easier, and simpler, to just say that we don't want to do something, and we aren't going to do it. Or, actually, just admit that we have failed to do something that should have been done. But that would mean acknowledgement that we are wrong, and possibly repentance. So maybe it really isn’t easier or simpler, when you factor that in.
Often, we offer more than one excuse to fit each failure. Or, different people offer a variety of excuses on the same subject. We haven't convinced ourselves that one excuse will suffice, so we want to make certain that we have more than one, just in case the first one or two fizzles out. For some it seems chronic and the one hearing the excuse begins to lose patience. Then, over time, one realizes the individual giving excuse after excuse isn’t reliable or worse, untrustworthy.
If a man is sick, and can't work, he doesn't need a bunch of excuses. If he is able to live without working, and without being a leech on society, more power to him. If he is too lazy, why not just admit it? All the Lord has ever promised us is a life of thorns, thistles, and sweat, and sufficiency for our daily needs, if we "seek first the kingdom." Anything else is pure luxury.
Any of us who have tried to persuade souls to obey the gospel have heard our share of excuses. The time is not convenient, some preacher made them angry, their relatives wouldn't like it, or there are hypocrites in the church, they say. We can give excuses for not studying the Bible, visiting the sick, or attending the assemblies of the church. The lord of Luke 14:15-23 could see through those excuses which he heard, and the Lord of judgment can see through ours. Moses gave excuses, did he not? When God appeared to Moses at the burning bush, He called him to the task of leading the children of Israel out of Egyptian bondage. In response, Moses gave excuses as to why he did not think he was the man for the job. In a similar way, as God's people today, we have received from God a special calling. Not to go to a country to deliver those in physical bondage but to a world to deliver those in the bondage of sin. He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation (Matthew 16:15). We are a chosen people with a job to do (1 Peter 2:9-10). Too often, though, we behave just like Moses, making the very same excuses!
The parable of the talents in Matthew 25 is perfect example of how there cannot be any excuse in the end. In the Day of Judgment, the number of "talents" will not matter. The question will be, "Have you been faithful with your use of the talents?" In the end, excuses will cease because there will not be one given that could serve the purpose of an excuse. One will not be excused for any reason we can conjure up or point to. Luckily, we worship and serve a merciful God, and we need to pray earnestly that he is merciful in that final day because we will absolutely need him to be.
- John Wells
Getting Too Busy
There is a story of a soldier who enlisted in the Civil War who had formerly worked as a watchmaker. When he reported for duty he brought along his kit of watchmaker’s tools. He was soon able to secure considerable business from the other soldiers within the camp. One day the order came for battle, but the watchmaker said, as he looked about his tent in dismay, “I can’t possible go, for I have twelve watches to repair and I’ve promised them by Saturday!"
This man had forgotten why he had enlisted. His preoccupation had turned his attention completely away from the principal duty he was supposed to be performing.
And so it is with many professed Christians. They have obligated themselves to so many organizations and causes and worthwhile activities that they have precious little time to do battle for the Lord. Like the thorn-infested soil of Jesus’ parable, they have allowed the cares of this world to choke out the growth of the seed of the kingdom in their lives.
Are you sometimes too busy to have time for Bible study and worship at the times arranged throughout the week? Is it hard to find time in your busy schedule to talk to someone about the gospel? Have you forgotten why you are a member of the army of the Lord?
“Suffer hardship with me, as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier on service entangleth himself in the affairs of this life; that he may please him who enrolled him as soldier.” 2 Tim 2:3,4
You cannot always control what happens to you, but you can control what happens in you.
Some people have a clean conscience because they never use it.