I want to tell you a story,
“There was a farmer who bought a new axe, and set it on his front porch. Before long his neighbor knocked on the door asking, “Can I borrow your axe?”
The farmer replied, “Nope. We’re having potatoes for supper.”
Puzzled, the neighbor asked, “What does borrowing your axe have to do with your having potatoes for supper?”
“Nothing,” replied the farmer, “but when you don’t want to loan your new axe, one excuse is as good as another.”
Now, the reason I’ve mentioned this story is because it’s a pretty good illustration of a truth that a lot of us live by in this world. When we don’t want to do something, we’re pretty good at making excuses for not doing things we don’t want to do.
Excuses are not anything new, people have been giving them for thousands of years, and other people have been dealing with those who give them for the same amount of time.
But nobody has dealt with excuses more than God. That’s right. God has heard more excuses than anyone else ever has or ever will, and chances are exceedingly good that He’s heard a few from you, too.
I’ve been reading in the book of Jeremiah, the first chapter, and there are three things I want to draw attention to, and they are: (1) God calls us. (2) God equips us; and (3) God affirms us.
I can just see you looking at these things and already starting to think of an excuse, and it’s true, that from the minute we’re called to do something for God, most of us start lining up our excuses one right after another.
For those of you who are familiar with your Bibles, I’m sure you can think of a number of people who were excuse givers right from the get go, and for those of you who aren’t well maybe you should dig into the “Word of God” a little more, and find out how God deals with those who have a tendency to offer excuses. But because I know some of you lack time (excuse) I’m going to help you out by showing you just one example so keep reading.
In Jeremiah 1:4-8, we learn a number of things. The first and most important thing is found in verse 5 which tells us that God formed us, knew us before we were even born, knew us in the womb, and had already sanctified and ordained us, which is a fancy way of saying He has given us all a purpose and made a plan for our lives.
To say or think anything different is to be expressly in defiance of God’s Holy Word, and to abort a “child” or “fetus” is “Murder.” This is a hard truth, but it’s God’s truth, not mine. I can tell you this, though, that if you find yourself in this most difficult of situations God can and will get you through this if you will allow Him to help you. God does not condone murder, but if ,sadly and tragically, you have had the life of your unborn child taken from you, I want you to know you are not beyond the love, mercy, and compassion of God. Don’t ever think you are, and don’t let anyone ever tell you aren’t. All God’s people have sinned, and Christ Jesus died for all sin, including yours.
There is great news and great encouragement in this verse for all people. First, it tells us we are all valuable, we are loved, and that each of us, and every life (yours) has meaning and purpose, and that you are not an accident. You have a plan to fulfill.
Verse 6 is where most of us insert our excuse whatever it may be. I’m too young, too old, too ill, too feeble, too busy, too uneducated, too something. Yet, you know and I know that we’re just being like the farmer who doesn’t want to loan his new axe (our life) and will say and do almost anything to get out of having to let our neighbor (God) use it.
The last couple of verses 7 & 8 are where God blows our excuses up in front of our faces, and tells us “Say not” and insert your carefully thought out and completely logical excuse here. God tells us in these two verses that He will send us, and that we will do whatever He asks of us, and that we’re not to be afraid of anything that may happen in carrying out what He’s asked of us for He will deliver us. Catch that? He will deliver us…Another way of saying this is that it’s not our ability we should rely on to do His will, but on His. And this leads us right into the next point that I want to address…
Nine out of ten times, when we offer an excuse it has something to do with us, our lack of some perceived ability we need in order to do something, and once again God takes our excuse, and lays it waste. As He does in verses 9 & 10 in which He makes it clear that it’s not our ability that will be used, but His. Like Jeremiah we like to pipe up and say I can’t, and God tells us the same thing He told Jeremiah I have given you the ability, and you can. I’m sorry but “I can’t” doesn’t have wings in the realm of God, and God will not let it fly. Try to offer “I can’t” and you’ll crash and burn, believe me.
There’s a quote by Catherine Booth, co-founder of the Salvation Army that goes: “I am tired of hearing the words, “I can’t.” Jeremiah said ,”I am a child,” but the Lord didn’t pat him on the back and say, ”Jeremiah, that is very good; I like that in you. Your humility is beautiful.” Oh no! God didn’t want any such mock humility. He reproved and rebuked it. I do not like the humility that is too humble to do as it is bid. When my children are too humble to do as they are bid, I pretty soon find a way to make them. I say, “Go and do it!” The Lord wants us to “Go and do it.
I want you to know dear reader that I have experienced this, myself. True humility and humbleness isn’t about not having ability or recognizing the ability one has, but in the attitude and spirit in which one uses and acknowledges the ability one has been given by our great and gracious God. Humility and humbleness can’t be used as an excuse anymore than any other excuse can be used. I am not worthy does not work, for God has made us worthy to do all He asks of us.
And just as Jeremiah was called so we are called to do the same things as he. The Bible clearly teaches that we are to do the same kind of things in that we are to stand for truth, we are to root out sin, we are to pull down strongholds of false and inaccurate thinking, we are to destroy and to throw down evil institutions and practices, and we’re to build the faith of others, and plant the seed of God’s love and forgiveness everywhere we go.
To not do so is to go against the Great God who made us, and gave His son, Jesus Christ, for us. You have the ability to do as He asks
For He has given it to you, and for you to disown it, or make excuse for your failure to use it as He intends is to place yourself in the unenviable position of having to explain to your precious Lord and Savior why you offered excuses for failing to carry out the will of the Heavenly Father when He who could have did not do so.
In conclusion, let me bring to you verses 17-19 in which God tells us in no uncertain terms that we are to gird up (prepare, gain knowledge, equip ourselves); to arise (stand up) and speak (proclaim) unto everyone all that I command of you, and that we’re not to be afraid to do so. God tells us that we will be as a defensed City, and iron pillar, and brazen walls against all who come against us in the way of people and institutions, and though they fight against us they will not prevail for God tells us that He is with us and will deliver us.
Christian brother and sister is God calling you to do something? Has He made you aware of something you need to change?
Has He told you that you need to get involved?
Has He told you that it’s time for you to take a stand for His truth?
Has He told you it’s time to stand with your brothers and sisters In Christ?
I do not say…God says…You have no excuse!