Why is that we feel that we can offer excuses when it comes to things of the church that would be ridiculous if used anywhere else. Have you ever wondered what would happen if people were as intense and committed and determined about church as they are about sports – or any number of other things…
Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory once said "If ifs and buts were candy and nuts we'd all have a merry Christmas."
Luke 14:15-18 And when one of them that sat at meat with him heard these things, he said unto him, Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God. 16 Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many: 17 And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready. 18 And they all with one consent began to make excuse.
Hebrews 10:22-25 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. 23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;) 24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.
A husband and his wife woke up one Sunday morning and the wife dressed for church. It was just about time for the service when she noticed her husband hadn’t moved a finger toward getting dressed. Perplexed, she asked, “Why aren’t you getting dressed for church?” He said, “Cause I don’t want to go.” She asked, “Do you have any reasons?” He said, “Yes, I have three good reasons; first the congregation is cold, second, no one likes me, and third, I just don’t want to go.” The wife replied, wisely, “Well honey, I have three reasons why you should go. First the congregation is warm, second, there are a few people there who like you, and third, you’re the pastor! So get dressed!” (Matthew)
To make it possible for everyone to attend church, how about having a special "No Excuse Sunday?"
1. Cots will be placed in the foyer for those who say, "Sunday is my only day to sleep in".
2. There will be a special section with lounge chairs for those who feel that our pews are too hard.
3. Eye drops will be available for those with tired eyes from watching TV late Saturday night.
4. We will have steel helmets for those who say, "The roof would cave in if I ever came to church."
5. Blankets will be furnished for those who think the church is too cold, and fans for those who say it is too hot.
6. Scorecards will be available for those who wish to list the hypocrites present.
7. Relatives and friends will be in attendance for those who can’t go to church and cook dinner, too.
8. We will distribute "Stamp Out Stewardship" buttons for those that feel the church is always asking for money.
9. Doctors and nurses will be in attendance for those who plan to be sick on Sunday.
10. The sanctuary will be decorated with both Christmas poinsettias and Easter lilies for those who never have seen the church without them.
1.) There are many Excuses why people don’t attend church regularly.
Listen to some of the ones that I have heard.
1. Now that the nice summer weather is here I think we will stay home today and enjoy the beautiful day.
2. Oh, I do not like to get dressed up to go to church, I need a break from dress clothes, and I think I will stay home.
3. We slept late this morning and Sunday school is over what will the kids do?”
4. The building gets so hot/cold this time of the year.
5. Every time I go to church they are asking for money.
6. The people I sat next to didn’t talk to me and they didn’t seem very friendly.
7. The pews were too hard; they hurt my back and are so uncomfortable.
8. The service times just don’t fit into my schedule.
9. That place is filled with a bunch of hypocrites.
10. I was forced by my parents to go to church every week when I was a child and now it is time to take a break.
11. That pastor is so long winded that by the time he is done the restaurants have a long wait just to get a table.
People have so many reasons for not attending Church. Even in Jesus’ day people gave excuses why they could not commit themselves to Him.
Jesus’ call to the people of his day was that the kingdom of God was at hand, repent of your sins and follows me. And yet people made excuses, reasons why they could not follow Him.
A man replied, “Lord first let me go and bury my father.” Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”
Another said, “I will follow you Lord, but first let me go back and say good-bye to my family. Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plough and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.”
Many may think that Jesus’ repose seems rather cold, odd, and cruel. Jesus was not concerned about social or political correctness. These people were ready and able to commit, but on their own terms! They would commit, but as long as the cost was not too high. Jesus’ was calling their bluff to see how serious they were about their commitment.
2.) Why is it so difficult for some people to commit themselves to Christ and His Church?
The cost of commitment is still a problem for the church today. Yes we are willing to commit, but on our terms and ONLY if a lot is not expected out of us. Every reason imaginable is given why people are not willing to commit themselves to the life that Christ has called us to live.
One reason we often hear is that we are busy. Or so we would like to think we are.
We are busy with our families.
We are busy with our friends.
We are busy with our work.
We are busy with sports.
We are busy cleaning.
We are busy cooking.
We are busy with vacation.
We are busy sleeping.
We are just busy.
We are just too busy to be bothered by God.
We are too busy to be faithful to His Church.
We are too busy to bother with the ministry of Church.
But the question we need to ask ourselves is this, “Is God ever too busy for me, especially when I am in need of His help?”
The issue that the church faces today is still the same one that Jesus faced, people are ready to commit, but on their own terms. Being a faithful follower of Christ comes with a price.
The cost of discipleship may be a cost that many are not ready to pay. It requires us to give of our whole self and not just part of whom we are. We have been conditioned that we should receive something in return for our faithfulness. We feel it is our right.(GOD OWES ME NOTHING)
We have been told that we don’t get something for nothing, so why should God get our total self, loyalty, our money, our lives?
Pavel Poloz wrote in this in his book “In China, Christians are tested by hardship, but in America you are tested by freedom. And testing by freedom is much harder. Nobody pressures you about your religion. So you relax and you are not so concentrated on Christ, on His teaching, how He wants you to live."
So why should we give our whole self to God? What has he done for me? In one single word, grace.
3.) Thank God for His grace!
God has given us something that we could not earn. Something that we could not go downtown and buy at the local grocery store. And He is the only one that has the ability to give us this gift of grace.
A gift that goes beyond measure or any monetary value. God gave us this gift at the very moment that we opened our life up to Jesus Christ.
I’m so glad that the blessings of God and His Mercy are not depended on my faithfulness to Him and His Church. He does not treat me the same way that I treat Him.
He has accepted me unconditionally even when others have turned up their noses to me. God has and is always ready to forgive even when others think we have gone beyond forgiveness.
When I think of how little we have to bring and how much he offers and that he invites us to share it with him, we should be shouting from the rooftops.
We do not have enough love, or faith, or grace, or mercy or wisdom.
But God does.
He has all those things in abundance, and he says, "Everything that I possess is available to you."
You see it’s not that God needs anything you have; it’s that you need everything He has.
God’s grace is worth our daily devotion, our weekly attendance, and our financial contributions, our blood, sweat and tears to the work of the church.
So what will be your response? Excuses, excuses, excuses
Or a resounding yes to your commitment to Christ and His Church.
There is not an excuse that Jesus has not heard.
On Sunday evening or Wednesday don’t let an excuses stand between you and the Lord Jesus Christ.