Luke 14:15-24 contains one of Jesus’ less-famous parables.
He told the story of a wealthy man, who invited friends to a party. No one was obligated to attend, but once they accepted his invitation, they were expected to. However, when the time for the party arrived, everyone had an excuse.
Verse 18 begins, “But they all alike began to make excuses.” (NIV)
The first said he had bought a field and needed to examine it. The second man had purchased five teams of oxen and wanted to try them out. The third guest explained he had just got married.
Few of us have bought fields, even fewer oxen, and being a newlywed is a long-ago memory for most. Despite that, these justifications are surprisingly similar to today’s excuses.
The man who bought a field and the man who bought oxen both allowed possessions to become their focus.
At first glance, the excuse of the man who had just got married seems reasonable. While nothing is more important than family, even family can be used as an excuse.
You may think I am being too hard on the guys in Jesus’ story, but when you take a closer look, their reasons are only feeble excuses.
Who would buy something without looking at it first? The man who had just got married certainly should make his wife a priority, but she was almost certainly welcome too.
The reality is that you can always find an excuse for something you do not want to do. While there are times when we cannot do what we want, far more frequently we make excuses for what we do not want to do.
Someone who hated carrots came up with the following tongue-in-cheek statistics about the danger of carrots, which are obviously just excuses:
One, nearly all sick people have eaten carrots;
Two, 99.9% of Americans who die from cancer or heart disease have eaten carrots;
Three, 95% of people in car crashes ate carrots in the 60 days leading up to their accident;
Four, 90% of juvenile delinquents come from homes that ate carrots regularly; and
Five, among those born in 1850, who ate carrots, there was a 100% mortality rate.
You do not have to eat carrots, but everyone needs to accept the invitation to God’s party.
The point of Jesus’ story was that when it comes to spiritual things, we can always find an excuse. If we wait until the perfect time to respond to God, we will never invite him into our hearts.
We can all find reasons spiritual things are not currently our priority; however, if we are honest with ourselves, our reasons are excuses.
Do not miss out on God’s party because you are good at making excuses.