"Legitimate" Excuses

“But they all alike began to make excuses. . .”

In the parable of the great banquet, a man gave an impressive banquet, sending his servant to invite people to attend. But the first invitees begged off, citing various reasons. One needed to see a newly purchased field, another five yoke of oxen, and still another married a wife and needed to tend to her. These appeared to be reasonable, but Jesus indicates they fell short. The religious leaders of the day rejected Jesus, but He then opened the door to everyone.

Excuses can appear justified, but a closer look reveals they often fall short. How can we deal with excuses?

1. Recognize their source. Most people suppose the evil one appears as a terrifying entity, poised to frighten us to death. Quite the contrary, Satan appears as an “angel of light”:

“And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14).

Just as he appears innocently enough, the excuses he provides also appear harmless. In fact, many a soldier of the cross has been detoured from serving God because of work or family pressures, both of which seem reasonable at first glance.

2. Recognize their danger. Christians need to pray over life’s decisions, including “opportunities” that appear to come from God. When offered a promotion, will the boss expect me to compromise and attend after hours gatherings at the local watering hole? If I marry this beautiful girl with questionable spiritual character, how will that impact my spiritual life and desires to serve God?

3. Choose the best path. Of course, none of the excuses Jesus alludes to should keep people from giving their best to God. We should choose the path best suited to our spiritual life. Many excuses appear legitimate, but a closer look reveals they don’t pass the smell test. When presented with good or best, choose best. God will bless our commitment and take care of all of our needs (Matthew 6:33).

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