Thinking back upon my childhood, I can always remember my mother getting upset when she heard a list of excuses about why I didn’t make my bed that morning, pick up my clothes, cut the lawn, or do the dishes. Don’t you hate excuses like “The dog ate my homework”? Of course, in the church there are excuses, too, about why things don’t get done. However, you will never hear me say, “I don’t have a sermon because the dog ate it.” (I think most people know I don’t have a dog. That would be more than an excuse, i.e., a lie.)
This week Jesus listens to a lot of excuses about why people are not following him. They have to bury someone, or say farewell. There are a lot of excuses for not getting things done. There is also great reward to those who stick to the job at hand and finish.
I used to make a lot of excuses for myself, but I discovered it was just another way to procrastinate. It was just another way of not making things happen. Steven Covey (“The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”) talks of the fist habit as being “Proactive”. That is, you don’t wait for things to happen, you make them happen. I always wanted to run the NYC marathon, but it took getting up off the couch to achieve that goal. It took running for one minute to realize that I was out of breath and had to stop. Soon I was at two minutes, and then I ran 26 miles in four and a half hours. It was slow by some standards, but a huge accomplishment for a guy like me.
Faith demands activity. That is the problem. You don’t just have faith, you must activate that faith on a daily basis. You activate it through love, through prayer, through worship, and through deeds of goodness and kindness. Otherwise, your faith is stagnant and dissipates. Most people think it’s an intellectual activity, but it is so much more.
Join me this Sunday and find out more about proactive faith.