December 2, 2003
Encouragement for Today
At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, "Come, for everything is now ready." But they all alike began to make excuses. Luke 14:17-18
In Greek the words ‘make excuses’ means to decline, refuse or avoid.
This scripture speaks to our generation of busy people. It speaks to me. It’s that time of the year again. School is in full swing with all of the games, plays and extra-curricular activities. Mix in the fast approaching holiday season and you have the recipe for custom-made excuses.
Every morning I walk between 6:30-7:30 a.m. with my Christian accountability sisters. We discuss spiritual growth, share prayer requests and ‘ glisten’ as the sweat drips down our brow. We walk, talk and challenge each other to find God’s purpose for our lives. This miraculous journey began a little over 40 days ago.
Several women in the group are not considered ‘morning’ people. And yet, when we decided to take on the book, Purpose Driven Life, at the crack of dawn, their commitment to this study and to our fellowship was stronger than sleep. Our husbands stared in amazement as their wives methodically rolled out of bed to discover life’s purpose. Some of these men had urged their wives to share a sunrise with them, only to find a glaring eye peeking from beneath the covers. For years we had wrapped ourselves in work or meetings or children’s activities and excused ourselves from God’s purpose for our lives.
If you read on in Luke he tells of a man too busy to come to the banquet. We are just like this man. We allow the soccer games and business trips and never ending errands to pull us away from God's table. The story continues with a man anxious to try out his new oxen, you know, take him for a test drive. The pleasures of this world can certainly lure us away from spending time with God. The new car, the new boat, the new toy demands our attention and mutes the voice of the Holy Spirit calling us to come.
Finally this scripture describes the man using his family, his new bride, as the excuse to stay away from the feast. I need to spend quality time with my family, but what is quality time? Is it running to the game, sleeping in, or just choosing to do what we want instead of what God is calling us to do?
We often act as if we have no control over the hectic lifestyle we choose to lead. We load up our schedule with gymnastics, karate, soccer and dance, as if someone were holding us at gunpoint. We choose PTA, committees and work convincing ourselves if we don’t do it, it won’t get done. Life is full of choices and it's also full of excuses and sometimes the lines between them get blurred.
Every morning, he calls us to His table, to fill our minds and hearts with new songs, new praises, new energy to live for him.
My prayer for today:
Jesus, we are a generation of busy people. Teach us to value time and the way we choose to spend it. There is nothing more important than refreshing my spirit at your table. Thank you Father, for your bountiful blessings in my life. Forgive me when my excuses keep me from coming to your banquet.
Begin with prayer asking God to reveal His direction for your day….and then watch and recognize the opportunities that fill your day.
How will you choose to live this day?
Will you excuse yourself from the table or allow the Father to fill your cup with his love?
What am I willing to give up today?
Who is God calling me to spend more time with today?
Where can I see the habit of excuses being manifested in my life?
Psalm 5:3, In the morning, O Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation. (NIV)
Lamentations 5:23, His compassion's are new every morning. (NIV)
Ephesians 5:14 Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. (NIV)
Isaiah 50:4 He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught. (NIV)
1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
Radically Obedient, Radically Blessed by Lysa TerKeurst
The Power of a Simple Life by Mary Southerland
At Home with God by Sharon Jaynes
P31 Woman Magazine by Proverbs 31 Ministries
Originally published Tuesday, 02 December 2003.