Recently I was listening to a speaker who challenged those of us listening to him to make sure we are ready to meet God because we know we have done everything He has called us to do. He based this challenge on Timothy 4:7 where Paul writes to Timothy,
“I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge will award to me on that day…”
So I have been thinking about his challenge and I would like to be confident that I will do everything God wants me to do but at the same time, I don’t think I possibly can. So I have been wondering if God would make an exception for me. Surely, He will let me off the hook when I remind Him of the fact that I am a nobody, born into a family of nobodies, I have little education and no-one knows the place I was born. So I think I have a very valuable excuse not to be able to do what God has for me to do.
Having said this, there is a passage in the Bible that comes to my mind and it is I Corinthians 12:1-11
“Now about spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be ignorant. You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. Therefore I tell you that no-one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no-one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.
There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men.
Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge, by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and He gives them to each one, just as He determines.”
God promises me here to give me His spiritual gifts so that I can do whatever I am called to do. That means I cannot use my background as an excuse. In fact, I have a number of excuses not to be able to fulfil God’s will for my life.
One excuse is: I am too young.
And I remember Jeremiah using a similar line which we can find in Jeremiah 1:4-8
“The word of the Lord came to me (Jeremiah), saying, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”
“Ah, Sovereign Lord,” I said, “I do not know how to speak, I am only a child.”
But the Lord said to me, “Do not say, I am only a child.” You must go to everyone I send you to and say whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.
It is clear that God did not accept Jeremiah’s claim that he was only a child. Therefore, I don’t think that He will accept my excuse that I am too young either.
Perhaps my next excuse will be more acceptable: I am too old.
Now I do remember Daniel mentioned someone who was not that young either.
He is mentioned in Daniel 5:30-31
“That very night Belshazzar, king of the Babylonians was slain, and Darius the Mede took over the kingdom, at the age of sixty-two.”
I have to admit this man was not that young when God finally decided to use him.
And I remember Moses. He was even older than Darius when God called him. He had already taken care of ordinary sheep for 40 years as we can read in Acts 7:30
“After forty years had passed an angel appeared to Moses in the flames of a burning bush in the desert near Mount Sinai.”
As far as Moses was concerned, taking care of sheep was his job for the rest of his life. But then God appeared to him when he was 80 years old and told him to take care of a few million human sheep. That would have been an even greater challenge for him because ordinary sheep at least cannot talk back but human sheep can talk back and Moses learned that very quickly.
One example is in Exodus 16:2
“In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron.”
I realise, of course, that I cannot use the excuse that I am too old either.
But I have another very valuable excuse and that is:
The circumstances in my life are just too difficult.
What comes to my mind, though, is a couple who lived in circumstances even more difficult than myself or yourself and they were willing to fulfil God’s calling for their lives. This couple were Hebrew people. They lived in Egypt and their ruler had decided that any baby boy born to Hebrew parents had to be killed off. Nevertheless they dared to have a baby son and dared to believe God would protect him. Their son was Moses.
We can read of them in Hebrews 11:23
“By faith Moses’ parents hid him for three months after he was born because they saw that he was no ordinary child and they were not afraid of the king’s edict.”
So, even this excuse is not valuable in God’s eyes.