Had this woman had the same problems years before when she was a young mother? I suppose so, but I never even thought about that—all I thought about was my own problems, all the things I needed to do, how tired I was, and how I could not possibly do any of those other things because of the demands of my family and home.
She knew all this, but she still asked this simple question. “What if,” she quietly said, “God decided to help you out by taking away all of your excuses?”
After a moment of shock, I suddenly saw my children and my home in another light. Here I was claiming to love them more than anything else, while telling everyone what an obstacle they were in my life, maybe not in words, but certainly in deeds—or lack of them. Yes, serving my family is also serving God, but isn’t it hypocritical to then turn around and use that service as a reason not to serve others? The last thing in the world I wanted was for God to take them away from me, and I determined that they would no longer be the excuses I offered for not doing what I could.
No, I could not spend hours and hours away from them, nor several hours caring for others directly, but surely I could pick up the phone or write a note when the babies were napping. Surely I could fix an extra casserole when I made one for my family, and send it with someone else to a home where a mother was too sick to do it and the father was out working all day. Surely, I could find something I could do.
I think something else happened to my attitude that day, too. I was suddenly aware of all the things that needed doing for others, and looking forward to a time when I could, instead of sitting at home, selfishly wondering when I would ever have “me time” again. My home was where I wanted to be, but I also knew that I wanted to be doing what I could for others, when I could, for as long as I could, just like that kind sister who taught me a lesson with a simple question.
What kind of excuses have already come out of our mouths today? What if God took them away in the blink of an eye so we could do those things we claim to want to do “if only…?”
But he said unto him, A certain man made a great supper; and he bade many: and he sent forth his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for things are now ready. And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a field, and I must needs go out and see it; I pray have me excused. And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them; I pray have me excused. And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come. And the servant came, and told his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and maimed and blind and lame... For I say unto you, that none of those men that were bidden shall taste of my supper. Luke 14:16-21,24.