I was told by my boss that we have a meeting that we are supposed to attend in Nashville next week. Suddenly I dreaded the thought of having to sit and listen to people give me a different perspective on my job duties. My supervisor quickly started making excuses to get out of attending. I really do not want to sit through a meeting on a Friday afternoon (horrible I know). I began thinking about excuses people make when deciding whether or not to attend worship services or Bible classes. We know what Hebrews 10:25 says, “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”
When something comes up in our daily lives that we don’t want to do, we try to find an excuse, don’t we? We as humans do not like participating in things we don’t enjoy, especially if it inconveniences us. In this world, we pretty much do what we want to do, when we want to do it. If something comes up at the last moment that we want to do, we will rearrange our schedule without giving a second thought.
We live in a world full of excuses. The list can get quite lengthy. But what are some of the main excuses people use to not attend services of the church. Let’s talk about a few excuses below:
1. “I am just too busy” I know that we live in a fast-paced world, but if you find yourself using this excuse then you are busier than God intended you to be. What you are really saying is God just isn’t important enough to be on your schedule. I have seldom known any person who makes this excuse who didn’t have time to take time off from their job for golf, fishing, a football game, swimming, or some other recreational interest. Every person on this earth has the same amount of time in their day-24 hours. Not a minute more or a minute less. It’s priority management that we encounter the difficulty. It’s all about priorities. Is it too much to ask that you give the Lord at least 4 per hours per week of your time in worship and Bible classes?
2. “I don’t get anything out of the sermons” If this is your excuse, then you miss the whole point of what worship is. Worship, as God has designed it, is not for US. It is designed to be FOR HIM (John 4:24). We are not there to “get something out of it”, we are there to glorify God. It is all about God! We are there for the purpose of worshiping God -not to provide personal entertainment. Admittedly, some preachers can be monotone in the delivery of the sermon. But, remember, it is not about the “preacher” for he is just the messenger of God’s word. Also, consider the true statement that “you get out of what you put in”. So, if you find yourself “bored” or distracted during the sermon or Bible class, here are a couple of simple suggestions:
· Sit closer to the front of the auditorium where there are less distractions and you can focus more on worship.
· During Bible classes and the sermons, take notes by writing down Scripture that is used.
When you engage in Bible classes and worship and put your heart into it, you will “get something out of it” as a byproduct.
3. “I don’t feel I can be Christian right now.” This is a sad statement indeed. People have this impression that to be a Christian that you must be perfect. True, we are to be different than the world but that doesn’t mean we won’t stumble from time to time. People have this misconception that the church is for perfect people, when it’s a place to come and gain strength from God’s word, prayer and get encouragement from our brothers and sisters in Christ. We are there because we need God to get us through this life. If you are waiting to become Christian when you can be perfect, then you will never be a Christian. James 4:14 says “whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little while then vanishes away.”
This brings me to my last excuse and this is the one that bothers me the most…
4. “Too many hypocrites go there”. First let’s define hypocrite. It’s a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings. Well in that case there are hypocrites everywhere. Examples: The nurse or doctor who tell their patients to stop smoking for the sake of their health, yet when they leave work the first thing they do is light one up themselves. What about the woman who is pro-life, until she has an unwanted pregnancy and decides to have an abortion because she doesn’t want the child? Then there are the ones who believe in a “handshake agreement” then decided they are not going to do what you agreed to.
Ananias and Sapphira were hypocrites. Peter didn’t forsake the kingdom because of them. (Acts 5:1-10). Jesus was surrounded by hypocrites, but He still ate, taught, and healed them. There are hypocrites everywhere. Why are people so critical of hypocrites that attend services, but not hypocrites anywhere else in the world? Because, to the person who uses this excuse is not interested in God at all. Call it what it is. Don’t blame those who are trying to live a Godly life or those who have messed up publicly for your lack of interest. Harsh words, but very true. I am not going to let anyone keep me from going to heaven. I must answer for myself only. This excuse is the worst one in my opinion. It will not hold up on the Day of Judgment. 2 Corinthians 5:10 “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”[Emp.added]
Selfishness is the reason people make excuses. It is troublesome to know that attending services of the church and being with the members of the Lord’s church is so awful and such a burden. When I think of Christ dying on the cross, taking that inhumane beating and being crucified for you and me, to think that excuses need to be made to not worship the Lord, it breaks my heart. To some, I suppose His sacrificial death means nothing. Friend, one day you will find out that it means everything! I prayerfully hope that if you are an excuse maker that you stop making excuses and do what you know what is right and pleasing to God. He loves you and you need Him.