Luke 14:1-24; Genesis 25; Psalm 18
“But they all with one accord began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of ground, and I must go and see it. I ask you to have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.’” (Luke 15:18-19 NKJV)
You know those people who have excuses for everything? Whenever they’re supposed to do something, they forget – but they have a good “reason.” Your homework should have been done!” “I spent all night I the Vet ER with my sick cat.” “Kids, why haven’t you washed the dishes?” “We were waiting for there to be enough dishes to fill the dishwasher.” Jesus gave some examples of outlandish excuses people might give to God to avoid following God’s ways. He used a parable of a great feast. When he called his invited guests to show up, they all had great excuses – at least on the outside. The first guy bought a piece of land, and now he had to go look at it. The second guy bought five yoke of oxen and he needed to test them out. Those excuses seem reasonable, until you think about them. Why would someone buy a piece of land without checking it out first? Why would someone buy five yoke of oxen, or even one yoke of oxen without testing them before they bought them. That’s the thing about excuses: they don’t need to be perfect, or even believable when you think about them; they just need to seem plausible enough when told that the listener will be distracted. Jesus told this parable about people responding to the call of God, but if they give God excuses, they’ll make them for you as well. If something is right, do it and be proud to do it. If something is wrong, don’t do it, but don’t try to sneak around to avoid the consequences of your stand. Be an example to the world of a person who doesn’t make excuses, but accepts credit gracefully when they do right, and accepts responsibility for things that go wrong without explaining it away to make yourself look good.
How were the excuses today? Did you make a bunch of excuses? Give those mistakes to God and admit when you’re wrong. It will be liberating. Did others make those excuses to you? Forgive them gracefully and help them focus on their relationship with God.
Lord, it’s so easy to make excuses so that I don’t look bad in front of others. When I’m wrong, help me to be truthful and accept the consequences of my mistakes. When others wrong me and try to make excuses, help me to show them Your love and grace. Give me the grace to face the consequences of my mistakes without making excuses.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.