In all the great stories, would be heroes must wrestle with the difference between reasons and excuses.
Life is good, life rolls on—until it doesn’t. Until a crisis looms and a summons is uttered. And then we either rise into our calling or suckle our excuses.
One of our excuses, ironically, is that reasons and excuses are hard to tell apart.
No they aren’t.
- Reasons get respect. Excuses are shamed.
- Excuses are lame and cowardly. Reasons are courageous.
- Excuses are dishonest. Reasons have nothing to hide.
- Excuses keep us from the real issues. Reasons are the real issues.
- Reasons grow from virtues. Excuses grow from vices.
- Excuses retreat from action. Reasons put us on the front lines.
- Reasons say no to lesser things so they can say yes to better things. Excuses say no to better things because they’re too afraid to give up lesser things.
- Reasons aspire. Excuses settle.
- Reasons dispel darkness. Excuses let darkness reign.
- Reasons create clarity. Excuses stir up the mud.
- Reasons improve morale. Excuses destroy it.
- Reasons change the world. Excuses never change anything.
- Excuses murder and bury reasons in the sand. Reasons can return the favour… if we let them.
Do you see the difference between reasons and excuses? My wife, the lovely Shauna, lost ninety pounds a few years ago and has kept it off. The other day my son asked me how she did it. Was it the diet, the exercise, the herbal supplements? Those all played a part, but when it came down to it, “she decided to ignore all her excuses,” I replied. Which is oversimplifying.
Or is it?
Remember young David in the Old Testament? He slew Goliath and become a national hero. But before he slew Goliath he had to kill a hundred excuses just like these ones:
- I’m too small.
- I’m a shepherd, not a warrior.
- It’s not my job.
- Someone else more qualified can do it.
- King Saul would never let me.
- I have to be going now.
- My dad will kill me if Goliath doesn’t.
- I came to bring you lunch, not save the world.
- Killing lions and bears is not the same as killing a giant.
- See? Saul’s armour doesn’t fit me.
- These stones are the wrong shape and size.
- I haven’t prayed about it.
- My slinging arm is sore.
- God would never ask me to do something so dangerous.
- If I come back later this week and he’s still at it, let’s talk.
- It’s not my gift.
- I get nauseous at the sight of blood.
- The sun is in my eyes.
- I didn’t sleep well last night, or I would totally do it.
What propelled David to face Goliath? Powerful reasons, grounded in simple faith: “This isn’t right. Someone has to face this guy, and no one is, so I will. God is worth it. He will help me. It doesn’t matter how big Goliath is, God is bigger. It doesn’t even matter if I die. What matters is the glory of God. My fear is irrelevant.”
Now that you see the difference between reasons and excuses, what if you pulled a David and resolved to ignore all excuses from now on? To find your reasons and die for them if need be?
There are two kinds of people in this world; people looking for an out, and people looking for their in. What excuses do you want to put to death in your life this week?
Me, I’m learning to put to death my excuses about sharing my faith with people who don’t know Jesus.