Should God understand my excuses?
I read Luke 14:16–20 and at first, I get what those people are saying.
16 Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. 17 At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’18 “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’ 19 “Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’20 “Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’
The one guy had to go attend to a field he had just bought. Life has responsibilities after all. We look forward to heaven but right now we need to work and pay the mortgage and do our day-to-day earthly stuff. The second guy… same thing, he’s right in the middle of doing something wise for his work. It’s not like he told Jesus he’s on his way to go play corn hole. The third guy as well – he just got married after all. God is the one that came up with marriage and he’s unhappy the man wants to be a good husband? I naturally side more with the excuse-makers at first.
But what is Jesus teaching us in this parable? He isn’t saying it’s OK to be irresponsible, unwise or thoughtless people. It’s all about our priorities (or lack there of). There are lots of things on earth that we should do and concern ourselves with, but never more than our relationship with God. Work and daily chores and wise management of our resources are all good. But God trumps them all. If he indeed leads us to change our plans to be obedient to him we should say
Marriage is very important to God, but God comes before our spouses as well. And he definitely shouldn’t have to compete with any of our worldly passions either.
We understand this concept of priorities when family emergencies happen. Tending to a sick child wins out over the important business meeting. A promise to go with my spouse to the family reunion wins out over a last-minute dinner invite. Going to work wins out over going to the beach. Our lives have an order. There are priorities.
God needs to be our biggest priority, doesn’t He?! There’s no fear or worry when that’s true. He is not always predictable, and yes there are times we don’t understand why. But he is
and helps us remain people of our word – loving spouses and parents, reliable friends and responsible employees. But when God does ask us to put him first, even above all those important people and responsibilities, we need to say yes. Whatever his plans are, and whatever you have to give up the follow them…it is always for the best. I’m glad my husband puts God above our marriage. It’s not a competition. I know he’s the best husband when God is first in his life. And there’s not a job–related responsibility that wins out if God were to tell me to spend that time differently. When everything is properly ordered, that is when we experience peace. Let’s throw that pile of excuses in the trash and practice the only answer we should be giving God – yes.