But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come - Luke 14:18-20 ESV
My oldest son hurt his ankle while roller skating last year. His ankle was sore and swollen, so we took him to the doctor. They examined him and placed his ankle in a splint and prescribed that heat and ice be applied to the area. In addition, they recommended that he use crutches for at least the next 4 to 5 days. At the end of that period, the swelling had gone down and he seemed to be getting around a lot better. Despite our observations and suggestions, he decided that he wanted to use the crutches a little longer because he felt that he didn't have the necessary strength to do without them. My wife and I went along with this for several more days. At the end of the third day of him using the crutches, we made him get rid of the them and had him to start walking on his own power. The reason why my wife and I decided to take away the crutches was to eliminate the excuse that my son was using that he needed them to get around.
How many times have we held on to excuses as a crutch for not attempting things instead of using and believing in our abilities? Our God has provided us with all we need to accomplish the tasks He sets before us. Unfortunately, our doubting the power of our God goes back to ancient times. A perfect example of this involved Moses and the Israelites. The Lord had said to Moses that He was going to give the land of Canaan to the Israelites. Moses sent spies to observe the land. Note the attitude displayed by the spies when they reported back: But the men who had gone up with him said, “We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” And they spread among the Israelites a bad report about the land they had explored. They said, “The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. We saw the Nephilim there (the descendants of Anak come from the Nephilim). We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them" (Numbers 13:31-33). Even though God had stated that He was providing the land to them, the Israelites came up with a number of excuses as to why they couldn't take the land. Does this theme of using excuses ring familiar with us men? I know that I have been guilty of it in the past and am still susceptible to using excuses even now. I have shared with you how I've always wanted to create a resource to assist others with addressing and overcoming the challenges this life presents us. However, I put off starting it for over a decade. I used every excuse in the book for why I couldn't do it. I did it so much, that I began to believe it because it manifested itself in my mind. It wasn't until I tapped into the power that we all have access to with our Christ and realized that He provided me with everything that I needed to start fulfilling His purpose. The beautiful thing is that what happened to me can most surely happen to you. The exciting thing is the when we got more of you to realize this and start operating with a "no excuses" mindset, we will start to see real change in our families and communities.
ACTION PLAN: Starting today, resolve to eliminate excuses and the tendency to use them as crutches for the reasons you are not accomplishing God's purposes. Think of successes that you have experienced in the past and draw from them as you move forward. in the future.
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Ken Sadler is a leader of Men's Ministry at a megachurch and has a heart and passion for helping men become the best they can be.