Author Samuel Clemens told the story of a man whose neighbor habitually borrowed things without returning them. One day the neighbor asked to borrow the man’s axe. “Nope”, came the reply. “And why not?” “Because I’m about to eat a bowl of soup.” Puzzled, the neighbor said, “I do not see what one thing has to do with the other. You are certainly not going to eat your soup with an axe, are you?” “No,” said the man. “But when a fellow’s decided he’s not going to do something, one excuse is as good as the next.”
Mr. Clemens was right. When people decide on a course of action, they’ll justify it with any excuse — even one that makes no sense. We see it all the time in life. An unemployed man who was being evicted from his apartment was asked why he did not get out and look for a job. “Are you kidding?” he replied. “Who has the time?”
It is far more tragic that millions of people concoct excuses for ignoring God and the gospel of Jesus Christ. “I’m too busy.”“Other things are more important.” or “I’ll get around to it later.”
Jesus heard many such excuses during His earthly ministry: “Lord, let me first go and bury my father” (Luke 9:59); “…let me first go and bid them farewell who are at my house” (Luke 9:61). The Apostle Paul also heard excuses for neglecting the gospel – "Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you" (Acts 24:25).
As a gospel preacher, I have also heard numerous excuses for putting God off. I once encountered an unfaithful Christian in a mall. After a brief greeting, I asked him if he had given any thought about his soul. He replied, “This is not really a good place to talk about my soul.” When I asked him to name a better place, he shrugged and walked away.
As the man in the Samuel Clemens story demonstrates, excuses typically begin the moment we decide what we’re going to do (or not do). The key to breaking the cycle of excuses is to DECIDE to obey Jesus’ commands (Jn. 14:15) and put Him and His kingdom first (Matt. 6:33). If we make that decision and stand by it, excuses will quickly diminish.
Jesus, always Jesus!