Tuesday, February 24, 2015

What's Your Excuse?

I've been reading about Moses for the last few days during my Bible reading.  No matter how many times I read his story, I'm always amazed at how God used a murdering, excuse-making Hebrew-turned Egyptian-turned Hebrew to save a nation.  And please, don't misunderstand me.  I'm not judging Moses.  I'm relating to him.  No, I'm not Hebrew or Egyptian.  Neither have I murdered anyone (unless you count spiders, roaches and those creepy camel crickets, ick!)  But as for the excuse-making, well, let's just say I've had my fair share of experience.

You know the story, but just to recap, here it is in a nutshell.  After Moses killed the Egyptian, he fled for his life, settled down with a family and became a shepherd.  During that time, the Lord appeared to Moses in the midst of a burning bush and called upon Moses to go and lead the children of Israel out of Egypt.  I honestly don't know what surprised Moses more--the burning bush or the command of God.  I can hear him now.  "Me?  You want me to do what?"  And the excuses began.

Excuse #1:  I'm not worthy.
And Moses said unto God, Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Israel out of Egypt? - Exodus 3:11

Have you ever tried to use this one with God?  Funny, don't we think God is able to determine whether or not we're worthy.  The fact of the matter is that none of us are or will ever be worthy to do anything for God, but He chooses to use us anyway.  That's His call.  He's the One in charge.

Excuse #2:   I don't know how to begin.
And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them? - Exodus 3:13

Moses knew that his first job was to get the people to believe that he was there on God's behalf, but how he was supposed to accomplish that he had no idea.  I know how Moses felt.  When God called me to leave my teaching job and begin a career as a writer, I had no idea how to begin.  And, just like Moses, I tried to use that fear as an excuse to not even try.

Excuse #3:   I don't think it will work.
And Moses answered and said, But, behold, they will not believe me, nor hearken unto my voice: for they will say, The Lord hath not appeared unto thee. - Exodus 4:1

In other words, "God, I see your plan.  I know what you intend, but I don't think it will work.  The people simply won't believe me.  You'll have to think of something else."  Been there, done that.  "Good plan, God, but that's not what I had in mind.  How about we do it this way?"

Excuse #4:   I don't have the talent.
And Moses said unto the Lord, O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither heretofore, nor since thou hast spoken unto thy servant: but I am slow of speech, and of a slow tongue. - Exodus 4:10

Okay, let's think this one through.  Who created Moses?  Who gave him his talents and abilities?  Who knows exactly what Moses is capable of doing?  God, right?  Now, who's calling Moses?  God again.  There's an old saying:  "Where God guides, God provides."  God is not going to call Moses (or any of us) to accomplish a task without giving the talent to perform it.  His call may push us out of our comfort zones, but that does not mean it is beyond our ability.  We can do ALL things through Christ.

Excuse #5:  I think someone else would be better suited for the job.
And he said, O my Lord, send, I pray thee, by the hand of him whom thou wilt send. - Exodus 4:13

"I've heard all that you've said, Lord, but I'm telling you, you've got the wrong guy.  I'm just not cut out for this kind of thing.  Send someone else."  Yes, it's true that God sometimes puts us in a position where we feel inadequate.  "But Lord, I can't write as well as. . . "  "But God, I can't play the piano like. . ."  "But Lord, don't you think it would be better to let someone else fill this role?  It's just not my thing, and to be honest, I don't want to do it."

Notice God's response after that fifth (and final) excuse:  And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Moses. (Exodus 4:14)  God is not interested in our excuses.  He's interested in our obedience.  He knows what we're capable of, but even more than that, He knows what He's capable of.  If He calls us to do something, the only way we can fail is by not doing it.  No, things may not work out the way we think.  No, the task won't be easy.  And yes, it will cost us a few things.  But won't it be worth it?  Do you realize that Moses was the only one who actually had the opportunity to see God and live?  Yes, the journey was long and arduous, but what a reward!  Imagine what he would have missed if he had said, "Thanks, but no thanks, God."

So, I ask you today to contemplate the role that God has called you to do and ask yourself, "What's my excuse?"  What is holding you back from serving the Lord today?  If you'll go back and read the above passages, you'll see that Moses' excuses didn't hold up.  Chances are yours won't either.  It's time we stop making excuses and get busy.  It's time to trust and obey.

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