Today’s Reading: John 15:21-22 (NIV)
21 [Jesus said,] “They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the One who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin.”
One of my favorite hobbies is scrapbooking. My daughter Rachel, daughter-in-law Kari, sister-in-law Linda, and nieces Courtney, Katie and Ashley all like to spend time filling the pages of our Creative Memories® albums with pictures and memorabilia that illustrate our family’s history, who we are, and how we choose to spend our days. We have set aside special places in our homes where we scrapbook. Some of us even have entire rooms devoted to this task. During one of our summer scrapbook crops, Emily was working on her own scrapbook, when she told her mother that she wanted her own scrapbook room as a birthday present! This girly-girl is definitely my grandchild!
I’ve been admiring the many unique paper punches in Rachel’s scrapbook collection. She has a paper punch for every season of the year. As we begin scrapbooking our fall memories, we have leaf makers, pumpkin makers and candy corn makers to help us decorate pages in festive fall colors. As I held the leaf maker in my hand, I couldn’t help but wonder whether I should design a very different kind of punch – one that illustrates who I am in the season I find myself in. If I were to design a unique punch that describes my life today, it would have to be called an “excuse” maker.
I have an excuse for almost everything that doesn’t fit into my life’s plan. If I’m late finishing a paper for class, it is invariably because the demands of my day job kept me from it. If I miss a family get-together, I excuse it away because I’ve double-booked myself with too many other obligations. If I don’t get the house dusted and vacuumed before company arrives, the excuses are as numerous as the leaves that cover my scrapbook page. I wonder what excuse I will use if I show up late to my own funeral. Are you like me? Do you need an excuse punch to illustrate who you’ve become?
We excuse ourselves from weekend worship services, because something more important has come up. We skip Bible study and prayer time with the Lord, excusing ourselves from the banquet table that He has prepared for those who love Him. We are too busy, too tired, and have far too many commitments in the record-setting pace we choose to set for ourselves, and the one thing that keeps us from doing the only thing we need to do, is covered up by our personalized excuse punch. How will you try to cover up the things that you did not accomplish today?
Jesus said that His name would bring judgment, prejudice, and even provoke violence toward those who believe. If Christ had not come to earth in human flesh and spoken to us, we would not be guilty of sin. But because Christ did come, and we now know the Way, the Truth and the Life, there is no excuse big enough to hide our sin from the Father’s eyes.
Father, forgive me for making excuses instead of choosing to obey Your Word. I need the grace of Jesus Christ to cover my lame excuses. Hold me accountable. Help me be the person you’ve created me to be, in Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.
Grace and peace,
Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO
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