16 Then He said to him, “A certain man gave a great supper and invited many, 17 and sent his servant at supper time to say to those who were invited, ‘Come, for all things are now ready.’ 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.’ 19 And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to test them. I ask you to have me excused.’ 20 Still another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ 21 So that servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house, being angry, said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in here the poor and the maimed and the lame and the blind.’ 22 And the servant said, ‘Master, it is done as you commanded, and still there is room.’ 23 Then the master said to the servant, ‘Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. 24 For I say to you that none of those men who were invited shall taste my supper.’” Luke 14:16-24
Yesterday at lunch, we read this passage, and I asked myself (and my children) what an excuse was. Since the excuses Jesus gave aren’t really excuses we use, I wanted to see if we could understand the passage better this way.
One of my children suggested that an excuse is something we say when we just don’t want to do something. If we don’t want to say “I don’t want to,” then we say something else. That’s an excuse.
It’s a brilliant definition. (See also the American Heritage Definition #11) We talked a bit about the excuses we hear in our family— I’m too tired, I’m hungry, He did it first– these all may be true, but the reason we sin is because we want to. The reason we don’t get saved is, we don’t want to. I can see how I make excuses, too. How often do I put other desires in front of more important ones?
Do I neglect my dishes because I want to be with Lee, or because I just don’t want to wash them? How often do I cut my Bible reading short because I have other things I want to do, things that aren’t truly as important? If I’m honest with myself, I make excuses often because my desires aren’t the desires I should have.
That’s my prayer this morning– that I would desire the best things.
Delight yourself also in the LORD,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4
I smile as I think of this verse, because it reminds me of my responsibility before God answers my prayer. Guess that means I need to go get my coffee and Bible. How about you?
So convicting…..I love this! Now I want to have this discussion with my kids! I’m sure I’d get a sermon too as I KNOW I make excuses for things I don’t want to do. I’ve been cognizant of this lately and have contemplated some of my excuses but I must not have been deeply enough convicted to make any major changes as I should. Perhaps having the accountability of the kids would help 🙂 They will remind me when I am making excuses. I’m totally going to share this with them and see how they define excuses and what they think about them. Are excuses ever ok? Does the motive behind them make them good or bad? We’ll talk about that. Thanks for stimulating conversation!