If having kids has taught me one thing, it’s this: there is always an excuse for everything.
I don’t know how kids do it (or maybe it’s just my kids), but they always come up with a reason why they did something they shouldn’t have done. I would say that it can be very frustrating, but that’s probably not a true representation. At times it can be almost downright infuriating. They can’t seem to ever understand why I don’t want to hear their excuses.
As much as I want to fuss at my kids for making excuses, are we really any different as adults? When it comes to our relationship with God, there is no limit to the number of excuses that are offered.
– Want to become a Christian? I don’t know enough yet. I’m too young, and I haven’t had time to sow my wild oats yet. My friends may not understand. What will my family think?
– Would you come to worship with us on Sunday morning? It was really late before we got in bed Saturday night. I have a headache. I don’t have anything appropriate to wear. My kids can’t sit still for that long. We paid a lot of money for the tickets to the ballgame, so we can’t miss it. It’s the only chance this week to mow my yard.
There seems to be something about the human spirit that wants to ensure that our actions are justified. So, if something isn’t right, we have to come up with a reason why our actions are OK. Maybe it’s pride. Maybe it’s ignorance. But how does God look at this?
Let’s take a look at what the Law of Moses had to say about the tithing requirements for the Children of Israel:
“You shall surely tithe all the produce from what you sow, which comes out of the field every year. You shall eat in the presence of the Lord your God, at the place where He chooses to establish His name, the tithe of your grain, your new wine, your oil, and the firstborn of your herd and your flock, so that you may learn to fear the Lord your God always. If the distance is so great for you that you are not able to bring the tithe, since the place where the Lord your God chooses to set His name is too far away from you when the Lord your God blesses you, then you shall exchange it for money, and bind the money in your hand and go to the place which the Lord your God chooses. You may spend the money for whatever your heart desires: for oxen, or sheep, or wine, or strong drink, or whatever your heart desires; and there you shall eat in the presence of the Lord your God and rejoice, you and your household.” [Deuteronomy 14:22-26]
But that’s not the only time. Listen to the rules God made around the Passover:
“Thus the Lord spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying, ‘Now let the sons of Israel observe the Passover at its appointed time. On the fourteenth day of this month, at twilight, you shall observe it at its appointed time’…But there were some men who were unclean because of the dead person, so that they could not observe Passover on that day; so they came before Moses and Aaron on that day. Those men said to him, ‘Though we are unclean because of the dead person, why are we restrained from presenting the offering of the Lord at its appointed time among the sons of Israel?’…Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, ‘Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, “If any one of you or of your generations becomes unclean because of a dead person, or is on a distant journey, he may, however, observe the Passover to the Lord. In the second month on the fourteenth day at twilight, they shall observe it.”‘” [Numbers 9:1-3, 6-7, 9-11]
God commanded there to be a tithe, and it didn’t matter how far they had to go to make it happen. If they physically couldn’t travel that far with it, they could sell it, take the money on the trip, and buy new when they get there. They were also commanded to observe the Passover on the 14th day of the first month. If for some reason you were unclean and couldn’t do it on that day, you could do it on the 14th day of the second month. However, when it came to the tithe and the Passover, there was no way out of it. God did not allow excuses. He still expected His people to carry out His commands, no matter the situation.
The precedence has been set. We know what is expected of us. When a decision is to be made as to whether or not we will carry out the commands of God, will we make excuses?