Every choir director, pastor, teacher, or leader has faced this person more than a time or two . . . and with an outward smile (and an inward sigh – or maybe a scream!) has stood patiently listening to someone go on and on about why they can’t do something – usually something that they originally committed to do! The long litany of excuses ranges from the sublime to the ridiculous!
Having been a teacher in a middle school, I thought I had just about heard every excuse in the book and then some . . . and kids today have gone far and away above the old “dog ate my homework” scenario. One of the best I heard was “climatic interference with the computer’s performance” that was responsible for a project being late. It always amazed me how seemingly unreliable all the printers and computers became in the neighborhoods surrounding our school on the evening before projects were due!
One of the most amazing and perplexing excuses I heard while serving as a Minister of Music in a local church came from an instrumentalist who was a vital part of our music team: “I feel like I just need to go be with God for a while, so I’m not going to be in church tomorrow . . . I’m headed to the mountains to be with Him”. I thought to myself, “now that’s interesting, because Matthew 18:20 says ‘for where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them’.” So it seemed to me that coming to church would have been the better choice for “being with God for a while”!
Art Linkletter owed much of his fame to the hilarious “Kids Say the Darndest Things” segment of his TV show, which later became a best-selling book. Those in ministry leadership could write such a book about the things they hear from people who are trying to get out of doing something. I was always amazed by how many folks’ distant relatives suddenly needed a visit from them during the week of our church’s VBS program!
These are the “excuse-iators”, as I’ve chosen to call them – always finding some excuse as to why they can’t do something. Perhaps a look at scripture would be advisable for those folks who tend to have this malady . . . and maybe for ALL of us, so that we can be reminded about the importance of our service to the Lord and keeping our commitments.
Colossians 3:23 (Amplified Bible)
Whatever you do [whatever your task may be], work from the soul [that is, put in your very best effort], as [something done] for the Lord and not for men.
Be sure you do whatever you promise, because you have given your word voluntarily to the LORD your God.
And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.
A good hymn for meditation on how we can serve God faithfully, with our whole heart and NO EXCUSES would be “ I Surrender All”. The Choir recorded this beautiful song of commitment on our album Song of Hope; I’ve attached the track here.
As we think of Christ’s sacrifice for us, the very least we can do in return is to honor Him with faithful, consistent service and encourage those with whom we serve to have a “no excuses” approach to ministry as well.
Joyfully serving Him,
Director of Music and Ministries