A psychology professor at a Midwestern University recently asked faculty members for the ‘most unusual, bizarre, and amazing student excuses’ they had ever heard. He got dozens of responses from his fellow professors:
* Grandparent death:
an old favorite, but one professor’s class established some sort of record when 14 of 250 students reported their grandmother’s death just before final exams.
In another class a student reported that he could not take a test because of his grandmother’s death.
When the professor expressed condolences a week later, the student replied, ‘Don’t worry, she was almost terminal, but she is feeling much better now.’
* Car Problems: “I had an accident, the police impounded the car, and my paper is in the glove compartment.”
* Animal Trauma: “I can’t be at the exam because my cat is having kittens and I am her coach.”
* More Animal Trauma: “At dinner last night, my dog ate all of my study notes, and he has not pooped yet this morning – can we postpone this until he does?”
We seem to have an excuse for everything, don’t we?
There are even websites on the internet that will help you generate an excuse!
It is true… you type in the type of excuse you need, and it generates one for you (www.zompist.com/excuse.html).
Also, you can even learn about how to
“Deliver a Fake Doctor’s Note and Making It Stick: 6 Must-Use Tips!”
I find that totally amazing!
What exactly is an excuse?
In a court of law, “an excuse is a defense in which a defendant argues that he or she was not liable for his or her actions at the time a law was broken and thus he or she should not be held liable for a crime. Excuses include diminished responsibility, duress, infancy, insanity, involuntary intoxication, mistake, provocation, and unconsciousness (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Excuse).
I think my favorite excuse from that list is ‘infancy.’
“I was a baby when the crime happened… it wasn’t me!”
Excuse is a reason we give when something happens that does not go our way.
It is the ‘why’ we did something when we get caught.
It is our reasons for not doing something we know we should do.
The Bible is full of people making excuses and making excuses is as old as human beings.
You know the story from Genesis chapter 3. Adam ate the forbidden fruit, then when confronted about it, he came up with an excuse: “The woman you put here with me– she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it” (verse 12).
Then the blame was shifted to Eve. What did Eve have to say? Genesis 3:13 records her excuse: “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
It was the serpent’s turn, and guess what – he didn’t have a leg to stand on!
Exodus 32 shares with us the story of the Golden Calf.
The people of God finally arrived from Egypt and settled at the mountain of God to receive the Ten Commandments.
Moses was gone a long time and the people became restless.
The people wanted Aaron, Moses’ brother, to make idols they could worship.
They gave him gold. Aaron made a calf. They were persistent in their request.
Moses returned with the Ten Commandments in hand and asked Aaron if he had made the idol.
What was Aaron’s response? Aaron is trying to explain himself and says,
“So, I told them, ’Whoever has any gold jewelry, take it off.’ Then they gave me the gold, and I threw it into the fire, and out came this calf!” (Exodus 32:24).
Aaron was not to blame… the fire was. Ridiculous and almost comical if the sin were not so grave, have such a bitter taste and have such lethal consequences.
God wants to have a relationship with us, and He wants that relationship to be the most important.
But we default to our sinful unrighteous humanity, and we make our excuses.
It is the great conundrum of mankind – We always have excuses after excuses.
We are going to look at a parable today where the invited guests made excuses.
Let’s read this story from Jesus.
Luke 14:16-24Amplified Bible
Parable of the Dinner
16 But Jesus said to him, “A man was giving a big dinner, and he invited many guests; 17 and at the dinner hour he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, because everything is ready now.’ 18 But they all alike began to make excuses. The first one said to him, ‘I have purchased a piece of land and I have to go out and see it; please consider me excused.’ 19 Another one said, ‘I have purchased five yoke of oxen, and I am going to try them out; please consider me excused.’ 20 And another said, ‘I have [recently] married a wife, and for that reason I am unable to come.’ 21 So the servant came back and reported this to his master. Then [his master,] the head of the household, became angry [at the rejections of his invitation] and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and the lanes of the city and bring in here the poor and the disabled and the blind and the lame.’ 22 And the servant [after returning] said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ 23 Then the master told the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and along the hedges, and compel them to come in, so that my house may be filled [with guests]. 24 For I tell you, not one of those who were invited [and declined] will taste my dinner.’”
The Word of God for the Children of God. Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Amen.
The parable from Luke’s narrative describes for us a great banquet to which the master of the house had extended invitations far and wide.
No time had been noted in the invitation, but the understanding of the day was, once all was ready, notification would go out to all who accepted.
The moment arrived.
The servants were dispatched to gather the guests.
The minimal, if not automatic expectation would be that those invited would drop what they were doing and simply come, because to accept the invitation beforehand and then make an excuse when the day came was a grave insult.
And yet the excuses come.
Everyone knew that the banquet was being prepared and they were supposed to have cleared their schedules.
All who were invited gave excuses.
Other things and other people were subtly, suddenly taking priority over the banquet that was prepared.
One man said he was too involved in his business.
The man had bought a piece of ground and needed to look after it.
A person can become too involved in any business, not just the business of developing property or farming.
A person’s business, profession, and affairs can often consume all of life.
Other things fall away, and the business is all that matters.
Another man said that he was too wrapped up in new purchases.
The oxen had just been purchased.
They were a new possession and the owner wanted to try them out.
So, it is with new purchases such as houses, cars, bikes, records and CDs, books, radios, televisions, and a host of other material things.
The Bible tells us over and over again, over emphasizes material things can take root in our lives and the love of things can become most important in our lives.
Still another man said that he was too wrapped up with his family.
This man had just got married.
We know that marriage is ordained by God and that getting married is certainly a good thing.
I think the master of the banquet would have liked it if preparations had been made to attend. Maybe this man could have brought his new wife along, but just says, “I can’t come.” Family can also become an all-consuming issue in our life.
So what does this parable mean?
As in all parables, there is a surface story and then the spiritual meaning underneath.
This is a story about a prepared banquet and all the guests excuse themselves from coming.
The key to interpreting this parable comes in Luke 14:15 right before Jesus gives the parable.
Jesus is eating in a pharisee’s house (Luke 14:1-14) and is discussing spiritual matters with those attending.
One of the people at the table says,
“Blessed is the man who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.” (Verse 15)
Who is the one preparing the banquet in the parable? God.
What is the banquet?
The Kingdom of God / Christian Faith and Life / Christianity
Who are those invited? Us / People / Believers / Non-Believers
How does this parable apply to us?
What is the meaning of Jesus’ story about this banquet and the excuses?
How are we to strive to understand the complexities of this parable in our lives?
One 2022 application for this parable comes I believe, in looking at our own personal application of our daily Christianity in the different excuses given.
You see, God absolutely wants us to make Him a priority.
Except, too any of us absolutely do not want God being their #1 priority!
The parable is all about this prepared banquet that all of these people were supposed to attend and were supposed to make a priority.
God wants to be a priority in our lives.
He wants His Word to be the primary influence in our lives.
He wants our Sabbaths to be dedicated to Him.
He wants our worship to be directed at only Him.
He wants the “first fruits” of our resources to honor Him first.
God absolutely wants to have a relationship with us, and absolutely He fully wants that relationship to be the most important of all of our relationships.
But we default to our sinful and unrighteous humanity – and we make excuses.
* Maybe your business has taken over your life and you have no time for God. What is your excuse?
* Maybe the ‘things’ of life and the pursuit of them is more important than God in this moment, this time and this season. What is your excuse?
* Maybe you haven’t cracked open your Bible in quite a while. Have not had a conversation with Father, Son and Holy Spirit lately. What is your excuse?
* Maybe you are holding onto a grudge and just won’t forgive someone. What is your excuse?
* Maybe you are living like a “Christian” on Sundays, but on Monday through Saturday, you are not so sure you can account for “faith.” What is your excuse?
* Maybe all the effort you expend in your devotion and obedience to God has “tired you out,” “completely exhausted your spirit.” What is your excuse?
* Maybe you have decided not to give of your “first fruits” and your tithing. What is your excuse?
A whole lot of “Maybe’s” are going on all around us – so, our excuses are flying.
We are struggling to generate “just one more excuse” to get through our day.
There is no one alive right now who can deny “wanting just one more excuse!”
You see the Christian life is an exhausting one, all about giving God the priority and living and loving and moving forth in ministry under His Lordship alone.
When you accept Jesus Christ into your life, you accept Him as Savior and Lord.
Most of us have no problem with accepting Jesus as Savior.
We know that we cannot earn our way into Heaven, and we need God, and we need our sins washed away. We need Jesus. Yet, we cannot forget that He is Lord of our life as well. He is our priority, and it’s His will that should be sought after.
I have no idea what your excuse is for God or what the issue is. We all do it. We all give God excuses of why we can’t be faithful. I want to encourage you this day to rid yourself of your excuse and commit yourself to being faithful to God.
As tired and exhausted as we all undoubtedly are in these 2022 times, seasons, there is no excusing our way out of our innate needs for connections with God.
God is absolutely aware of these needs.
There is no time when He is not absolutely aware of these needs.
Isaiah 1:18-20Amplified Bible
“Let Us Reason”
“Come now, and let us reason together,”
Says the Lord.
“[a]Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be like wool.
“If you are willing and obedient,
You shall eat the best of the land;
But if you refuse and rebel,
You shall be devoured by the sword.”
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
The “Invitation to Come and Let Us Reason” is always there.
It has been in the Scriptures for thousands of years.
Ancient Biblical Editors have had uncountable opportunities to remove it.
What if they had removed those words all those thousands of years ago …?
Would that have given us “that one more final excuse” to give to God for why we are such prolific excuse makers – “It was nowhere in your Word, God!”
“Since it was not there in the first place – how can I be held accountable now?”
Do you believe our Lord God has a severe, chronic case of: “exhausted ears?”
His invitation has, in absolute fact, withstood the test of time and mankind.
It is our choice to stop – even for a few brief moments – “why all the excuses?”
There’re definite consequences for not stopping – “but if you refuse, God says.”
There are very definitely, decisively, eternally, consequences to continuing.
One day, Church – All of our excuses will have to absolutely have to stop!
One day, Church – All of our excuses will stop – then God our righteous Judge ….
In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
Let us Pray,
Lord God, my Way-maker, I know you have a destiny for me to achieve in this life. I want to follow the plan that you have laid out. Help me to understand and follow your call. Show me your will for my life and what I need to do right now to get started. Enable me to know who I am in Christ, and the special gifts and abilities you have given me. Give me the spirit of wisdom and revelation as I seek to know you more intimately. Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.