Monday, June 21, 2010

Excuses! Excuses! Excuses!

In the midst of the spring heat I took out with our son Will on a run. Will rode alongside on his bike as we headed out. About a half mile into the jog, Will asked, “Dad, why are you breathing so hard? We just started.” I quickly between gasps for oxygen shouted, “Because I am old, fat, out of shape, have a bad heart, and it’s hot out here.” To which Will responded, “At least you are really good at excuses!”
His comment snatched me back to reality. Why was I out there running if all I was doing was making excuses for my inadequate athletic ability? How often do we spend time and energy on reasoning why we can not do something than putting our efforts in just getting the task completed.
In our relationship with Christ we can come up with a million excuses not to do something. It is really easy to do. Many people have a burning desire to serve Jesus, and they know exactly what to do but can quickly become fixated on the things that keep them from serving. Not enough time, it’s too hot, we don’t have enough money, it is not at a good time or location, there will be others there they can handle it; are all easy excuses on why we don’t do all we can to serve Christ. Many people also understand that their presence in worship is a gift to our faith community and to God, but Sunday mornings can be filled with excuses on why they can’t attend.
Jesus understood our short comings. Luke tells us a story of Jesus as others ask to follow him. To be apart of his ministry on the road to Jerusalem, someone asked if he could go along. "I'll go with you, wherever," he said. Jesus was curt: "Are you ready to rough it? We're not staying in the best inns, you know." Jesus said to another, "Follow me." The person said, "Certainly, but first excuse me for a couple of days, please. I have to make arrangements for my father's funeral." Jesus refused "First things first. Your business is life, not death. And life is urgent: Announce God's kingdom!" Then another said, "I'm ready to follow you, Master, but first excuse me while I get things straightened out at home." Jesus said, "No procrastination. No backward looks. You can't put God's kingdom off till tomorrow. Seize the day." Christ understands we all have excuses or other things that keep us from serving others. Many things in our life that can distract us, hinder us, distract our attention from where it should be. He also wants us to fully understand that following him is not easy. It takes commitment, dedication, and determination, which are all qualities that are not easy to overcome but the rewards are greater than anything we can imagine. As opportunities provide themselves, it is time to step up: Call that person whom you have missed in worship, send a card to someone who is ill, go visit that person in the nursing home or confined to their home, pray daily for someone, lend a hand to someone, buy a bottle of Gatorade and give it to someone who life has no retreat from the heat, cook a meal for someone, etc. We hold the power to make our life one that is awesome at serving Christ by tending to all God’s children or as Will puts it, we can be a person good at excuses. In finding ways to rid ourselves of excuses we might just find our true self. The choice is yours.