Then Jesus said to him, "Someone gave a great dinner and invited many. At the time for the dinner he sent his slave to say to those who had been invited, 'Come; for everything is ready now.' But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, 'I have bought a piece of land, and I must go out and see it; please accept my regrets.' Another said, 'I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to try them out; please accept my regrets.' Another said, 'I have just been married and therefore I cannot come.' " Luke 14: 16-20 (NRSV)
Kelly Desclos-Estes lives in Virginia. When she was eight years old, her teacher told her she was a gifted writer. That was the first time someone had told Kelly she was good at something. As a teenager she wrote in a journal occasionally, while dreaming of being published. But each time, she felt a nudge from God to write something meaningful, Kelly found other things to do - distractions that kept her from doing what God wanted. By the time she finished high school, Kelly had convinced herself that no one would read what she wrote. For decades, she gave God a lot of excuses. Yet through prayer and support, she made a decision this year to follow God's leading.
In Luke's Gospel, Jesus tells a story about a great dinner party. One by one invitees give reasons why they cannot attend. One has a field to tend, while another has animals to care for. Haven't we all given God similar excuses? Someone may love to cook, yet avoids volunteering at a shelter. People skilled in business or technology decline to help with a church project that requires those skills. Imagine all that can be accomplished if we stop making excuses! When we give all that we are, we create a world that is closer to resembling what God desires for us.
Most of us feel, at some point in time, that we are not smart enough, strong enough, talented enough, gifted enough to do anything for God. Yet all we have to be is willing and God will do the rest.
Prayer: Eternal Father, forgive us for making excuses. Continue to guide our path so that we may serve you more wholeheartedly, in Jesus' name, amen.