Story of the Great Feast...a man sitting at the table with Jesus exclaimed, "What a privilege it would be to have a share in the Kingdom of God!"
Jesus replied with this illustration: "A man prepared a great feast and sent out many invitations. When all was ready, he sent his servant around to notify the guests that it was time for them to come. But they all began making excuses. One said he had just bought a field and wanted to inspect it, so he asked to be excused. Another said he had just bought five pair of oxen and wanted to try them out. Another had just been married, so he said he couldn't come.
"The servant returned and told his master what they had said. His master was angry and said, `Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the city and invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind.' After the servant had done this, he reported, `There is still room for more.' So his master said, `Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full. For none of those I invited first will get even the smallest taste of what I had prepared for them.' "---Luke 14:15-24 (NLT)
Now if we get an call from a distant friend to come for snacks tonight, but we have just married the man or woman of our dreams, and we just now get the chance to spend time with this special someone, we feel that we have a pretty good excuse for not showing up. On the other hand if someone sends us an invitation for a big catered party a few weeks from now, and we say, "yes, we'll be there," newlyweds or not, when the time comes, the invitation giver expects us to put in an appearance. By the causal manners of this world, it seems a little silly to hold anyone to this, but this story has an eternal value to it. All feasting aside, it may be that God just does not like excuses.
But Caleb tried to encourage the people as they stood before Moses. "Let's go at once to take the land," he said. "We can certainly conquer it!"
But the other men who had explored the land with him answered, "We can't go up against them! They are stronger than we are!" So they spread discouraging reports about the land among the Israelites: "The land we explored will swallow up any who go to live there. All the people we saw were huge. We even saw giants there, the descendants of Anak. We felt like grasshoppers next to them, and that's what we looked like to them!"
Two of the men who had explored the land, Joshua son of Nun and Caleb son of Jephunneh, tore their clothing. They said to the community of Israel, "The land we explored is a wonderful land! And if the LORD is pleased with us, he will bring us safely into that land and give it to us." But the whole community began to talk about stoning Joshua and Caleb.
...and the LORD said to Moses, "How long will these people reject me? Will they never believe me, even after all the miraculous signs I have done among them?"
(Moses asked,) "...Please, Lord, prove that your power is as great as you have claimed it to be. For you said, `The LORD is slow to anger and rich in unfailing love, forgiving every kind of sin and rebellion...' Please pardon the sins of this people because of your magnificent, unfailing love, just as you have forgiven them ever since they left Egypt."
Then the LORD said, "I will pardon them as you have requested. But as surely as I live, and as surely as the earth is filled with the LORD's glory, not one of these people will ever enter that land. They have seen my glorious presence and the miraculous signs I performed both in Egypt and in the wilderness, but again and again they tested me by refusing to listen. They will never even see the land I swore to give their ancestors. None of those who have treated me with contempt will enter it."
---condensed from Numbers 13:30-14:23 (NLT)
God forgives sin, yes, but we may miss out on our destiny when we start giving excuses. In fact those who want to reach their destiny need to eliminate excuses from their lives!
Adam lost his destiny by giving excuses---The LORD God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and care for it.---Genesis 2:15 (NLT) Being in the perfect spot was to be Adam's lot in life, until he started giving God excuses...
...the LORD God asked, "Have you eaten the fruit I commanded you not to eat?"
"Yes," Adam admitted, "but it was the woman you gave me who brought me the fruit, and I ate it." (NLT)
Yes, Adam started passing the buck and giving excuses. If Adam had admitted his sin and asked forgiveness, would we still be in the garden? We will never know, but excuses can cost us the will of God for our lives as well as the heart of God. An excuse is just an invalid reason to neglect a duty, and it will eliminate our future. Like Joshua and Caleb from the Numbers story, when we are pursuing our destiny, we get irritated at negative people. But keep pursuing, for Joshua and Caleb were the only ones to reach their destiny.
---notes on a strategy by T.J.