“If Satan can’t make you bad, he will just make you really busy.”  I have no idea who said this, but that phrase is haunting me.   Yesterday as I stumbled out of bed with 18 things already on my mind, I began to make my coffee.   I filled the reservoir with water and then filled that same reservoir with coffee.  For those that don’t drink coffee, the coffee, goes in the filter, not the water reservoir.  Then I misplaced (don’t tell my husband) the electric opener for my car and the keys were locked in it.  My dad said “surely you have another set of keys?”  Seriously Dad, how long have you known me?  Of course I do not have another set.  This is a given.   

My brain and my life is on overload and it has been on overload for way too long.

I keep telling myself that life will not always be this busy and that when it quiets down in a month or two, THEN I can restart doing all the things God has called me to do.  Because, I am just REALLY busy with work stuff and two young children and I am sure God understands because he sees the tasks set before me, right? 

And, it‘s not like I have fallen off the wagon completely. I am still reading my Bible daily.  I am going to church on a regular basis, praying whole heartedly, and I’ve even been to some special church functions.  Even though I have put of a few things, like writing this blog, signing up for a class at church, and serving the needy on hold, I am still very engaged and definitely seeking God on a daily and basis. 

Well……it is amazing the grace I give myself.  It is amazing how quick I am to judge others and see their faults, but to completely gloss over my own.  I find myself reading my Bible and congratulating myself about the bad traits I don’t have; like that is something to celebrate.  I love to read about the Pharisees and then think to myself, “Good thing you are not anything like those Pharisees!  You don’t burden people with endless rules over a relationship with Jesus.  At least you have that going for you.”  “You are clearly not a tax collector.  You didn’t kill your brother growing up, even though you wanted to.  Obviously, you have got to be pretty high on God’s list.”

Then, I read things like these verses and I realize, I have so far to go.

“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?”  Luke 6:46

Um…..well…..when you put it that way…um

“A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests.  At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’  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. 

Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen and I’m on my way to try them out.  Please excuse me.’  Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’” 

The Parable of the Great Banquet, Luke 14:16-20.

Excuses.  They were busy….too busy to go to the banquet.  God has invited me to His banquet.  Am I really telling him I am too busy to come right now?

A few weeks ago at church, our pastor spoke about humility and I love the way he described it.  He said it is about figuring out who you really are.  It’s about being real with yourself, not over inflating your ego, but also not putting yourself down.  I think it’s time to find some humility here.    

God doesn’t deserve my excuses.  His work, as easy as it is to push it aside, cannot wait.  It should not wait.  When I read the parable of the great banquet, I notice that the excuses these people give are not pathetic excuses.  It’s not like they are saying “God I am really busy robbing people” or “I am really involved in an affair with a married person.”  Both of these are clearly pathetic excuses.  But instead, they give excuses just like the ones I give myself.  “My kids are so young, they need me.  I can’t possibly get yet another babysitter for the Discovery class at church.”  Or “I am really busy getting ready to move our store to a new location.  As soon as I get that done, I’ll make time to spend with your people.”  “My kids are so young, I will serve at church when they get older.” “Work is so busy, I will help the poor and the hurting in our community next month.” And on and on and on and on and on it goes. 

Amazing…..Jesus knew this might happen.  Over and over again, he warns us of this in the Bible. 

“Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap.”  Luke 21:34

If you don’t know what dissipation means, which truthfully, I did not.  It means wasteful expenditure or consumption.  So, if we are not careful, we will get caught up and waste our gifts, our time and our energy tolling over and doing a bunch of things that don’t matter.  Oh, and let me rephrase that.  I will waste the time God is giving me, the gifts He has given me and the resources He has given me. 

All of my excuses are true.  And, on the surface and without any thought about Christ, they probably seem totally legit.  Work is important.  My kids are important.  I am doing good things in this world.  But that doesn’t give me an excuse to not to do the most important things.  If I don’t want to get yet another baby sitter for the class at church, maybe I need to wake up and look at option B.  Maybe I don’t need to get the babysitter for all the other things that take up my time, and I do need to get it for the class.  Maybe? 

And, as far as work goes, I realized long ago (although I don’t always live this way) that when you enjoy your job, when you are really passionate about what you do, there is always work to be done.  I could work on my business 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  And, yes, in my work, I believe people can see Christ through me, but I know all too well what it feels like to do life on my own.  I know what it feels like to let life seep in ever so insidiously to where I think that I can do it on my own and I don’t need God. 

That is what Satan wants us to think.  Satan wants us to think we can do it on our own, but I know that doesn’t work.  Been there, done that, feel sorry for those that are still trying it.  It’s going to implode some time.

So, today, I am putting aside my excuses.  Day 19 was “Called to Make Disciples” and in it I committed to getting prepared by signing up for a class at church, seeking wisdom outside of myself.  But I haven’t done it.  It has seemed like too much to fit in.  I’ve been too busy.  But last week I said, enough is enough.  I don’t want to be the one invited to God’s banquet who keeps giving him pathetic excuses.  So, I signed up for the Discovery class at church.  I know that doesn’t seem like much, and it’s not that I am uncomfortable with the idea, it’s just that something else will have to give a bit.  But perhaps by being obedient and spending a little more time pursuing God in the coming weeks, perhaps something else will get pushed out. And wouldn’t that be a blessing?!  Perhaps God will be faithful, as He always has been, and He will bless that time, the relationships I make and help me to learn better what I should be doing with my time.

“Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness.  When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.  The he said to his disciples, ‘The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.’” 

When I read that, I think how sad.  Christ sees this huge harvest of non-believers, of people who are lost and need someone to reach out to them, who need to be told the Truth and need to be loved.  I look at the world now and I see this same thing, a lot of really lonely, lost people searching for something.  But, the workers are just too few.   Or maybe the workers are just too busy making excuses and being busy. 

This week I start my class, next week I start serving in some capacity that does not involve my own family or my business at least one hour every week. 

Jesus, thank you for the invitation to the banquet; the best invitation I will ever receive.

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