As a former high school language arts teacher, I heard a plethora of excuses from students over the years: “Teacher, I did my paper, but then our electricity went out, and I couldn’t print it. May I e-mail it to you tonight?” “M’am, we had to take my little sister to the emergency room yesterday, so I’ll have that paper in tomorrow.” “Doc, my mom took me to the library, but I couldn’t find any books on my approved research paper topic.” Dealing with students wisely was a daily challenge. I asked God to give me discernment, but I must admit that I was a terrible failure on many days. You see, if the same student came in with a new excuse every week, it really got hard to respond graciously.
Lately, the Master Teacher has been dealing with me, His negligent pupil, on the subject of excuses. I have been such a procrastinator — this post has been spinning around in my head for weeks, but I kept making excuses as to why I didn’t have time to write it. I realize that I am always giving God excuses. “Lord, I am too tired to read my Bible this morning.” “Father, I would give to that missionary, but I just don’t have enough money in my budget.” “God, I don’t have any time to help that person this week.” Why is God so patient with me when I am such a sluggard?
A few weeks back, I came across a story in Luke 14 during my devotions. Later that week, I read a devotional on the same passage. Don’t you love it when God repeats Himself to get your attention? I realize that just like the men in the story, God invites me to participate in what He is doing. One man said He had to inspect a field (v.18) — Am I selfishly letting my possessions and greediness keep me away from doing what God has for me? The second excuse maker, a farmer, had a field to plow with some new oxen (v.19) — Am I letting my work and other responsibilities take over my life so that I am missing out on God’s plan for me? The last gentleman indicated he couldn’t accept the invitation because of his wife — What personal relationships are holding me back from God?
Proverbs 13:4 (NIV) states: “The sluggard craves and gets nothing, but the desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.” Verse 19 in the same chapter reads: “A longing fulfilled is sweet to the soul, but fools detest turning from evil.” What am I waiting for?