The best definition I have ever heard for the word “excuse” is, “The skin of a reason stuffed with a lie.” Nothing more than a fancy lie, an excuse is something we offer when we don’t want to do something, not because we can’t do something.
Moses offered up excuse after excuse when it came to God’s plan for his life. He didn’t feel like he was up to it. So he bombarded God with a series of excuses as to why he would not be useful to him.
Excuse No. 1: “I don’t have all the answers.” Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” (Exodus 3:13 NIV).
Maybe you feel that way sometimes – that you are not really adequate for the task at hand. God’s answer to Moses was “I am who I am” (Exodus 3:14 NIV). In other words, “I am sufficient for whatever the need is.” What is your need right now? Do you need direction? Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6). Do you need satisfaction? Jesus said, “I am the bread of life” (John 6:35). Do you need protection? Jesus said, “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep” (John 10:11). God will be with you in every circumstance.
Excuse No. 2: The people won’t believe me. So God told Moses, “Take your rod. Throw it on the ground.” Moses did so, and the rod turned into a snake. And Moses’ response was classic: He ran from it (I would have, too). Then God told Moses to grab the snake by the tail. Now, it is not a good idea to grab a snake by the tail unless you want to get bit. The place to grab a snake is at the base of its head so you can control it. Yet Moses followed God’s instructions, and the snake turned back into a rod.
The point God was making was that he was more powerful than Egypt. The cobra was a symbol of Egypt, as seen in the antiquities of the Egyptian people. God was essentially telling Moses, “I am stronger than anyone and anything, and I have authorized you to represent me. I will be with you, Moses. My authority will be with you.”
In the United States, we will send an ambassador to foreign soil and set up an embassy. That embassy is considered American soil, and if it is attacked, even though it is located in another place, it is considered an attack on America itself. The ambassador speaks for our nation and for the president of the United States.
Christians have been called to represent Jesus Christ and his kingdom as his ambassadors. We have been authorized by him. And he will back us up as we go out and represent him.
Excuse No. 3: “I am not a good speaker.” Maybe you feel that way. I have. There are many, many times when I have doubted myself as I stood up to speak. I have thought, “I don’t think I am the one to do this.” I have plenty of self-doubt that I struggle with, as many speakers do. At the same time, I have great confidence in God and in the message that I am sharing. I am not a brilliant orator – and I never have claimed to be. I am a simple speaker, but I believe the message I am proclaiming.
Moses said, “O Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue” (Exodus 4:10 NIV). But one of the keys to effective communication is simplicity. So God basically said to Moses, “I will be with you. I will give you the words.” And he will do the same for us.
Excuse No. 4: “I am not qualified.” Moses said, “O Lord, please send someone else to do it” (Exodus 4:13). Interestingly, God agreed to Moses’ condition and sent his brother Aaron to go with him. But as an example of why we should do God’s work in God’s way, Aaron caused some trouble later on. There was the incident where the people’s jewelry was melted down and made into a golden calf. The people danced before it naked while Moses was receiving the Ten Commandments from God on Mt. Sinai. And guess whose idea that was? Aaron’s.
You may think you are not qualified for the plans God has for you, but as I have often said, the calling of God is the enabling of God.
The Bible records the story of a man whom Jesus called to follow him. But he answered, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father” (Luke 9:59 NKJV). The problem with this guy’s statement is, “Lord, let me first …” If he is the Lord, it is not “me first.” And if it is “me first,” then he is not the Lord.
To not respond to God and be willing to be used by him potentially can be a sin. We tend to think of sin as only doing bad things. We think of sin as disobeying God in some flagrant way. And that is sin. But there is also the sin of not doing what God wants you to do. There are sins of commission and omission. A sin of commission is doing what you should not do, while a sin of omission is not doing what you should do.
If you would be willing to say to God today, “I am willing. I offer myself to you. I pray that you will use me,” then God will respond. And He will open up doors of opportunity for you.