Part of the impetus for spiritual bootcamp was “no more excuses.”
The thing about great gifts like the Bible is that it’s easy to take them for granted. You get so used to them you feel no urgent need to exploit them. They become paper weights on your night stand. You assume they will be there waiting for you when you finally hit a season that magically offers both the time and the inclination to dive deeper than you ever have.
But Summer turns into Fall and Fall turns into Thanksgiving which gets swallowed up by Christmas and before you know it, you’re looking backwards at your past stages of life (that – at the time – seemed impossibly busy) and wondering why you wasted all the time you used to have.
Here’s the thing: there will always be a reason not to come to the banquet of the Lord laid out for you in the Bible. There will always be an excuse to put off meeting with God. Sometimes the excuse will be seriously valid and sometimes it will be silly, but make no mistake – it will always be there, standing between you and the sustaining bread of God’s words.
Jesus told a story about a guy who prepared an awesome banquet and invited his friends. On the day of the banquet, one by one, they made excuses for why they couldn’t come: work, obligations, family. It’s eeirly similar to what happened when Jeusus asked people to follow him. They were all in, but they had some loose ends they needed to tie up first: funerals and saying goodbye to loved ones.
These guys want to follow Jesus. They just have real obligations they feel like they need to take care of first. They’re saying: okay, Jesus. I’m going to follow you. I just have to do one more thing first.
Here’s a terrifying thought: what if Satan is totally okay with our desire to be all in with God as long as ‘all in’ starts tomorrow? What if Satan is responsible for the deceitful thought: I will follow Jesus as soon as I ...[get married] [have kids] [have kids in school] [go overseas] [start a new year] [get through this season]….? You fill in the blank.
If you put off following Jesus until it is more convenient or easier or safer or softer, you will never endure in following Jesus. If you tarry til you’re ready, you will never come at all.
Following Jesus starts with death because following Jesus costs everything. Always. And it will never be easier to give up everything than it is right now – in the moment when Jesus is looking at you and saying: ‘follow me.’
See, Jesus never said – okay. I see that it’s not a good time, so just follow me as soon as it is and I’ll hang out here until then. He never said – well, I see you’re overwhelmed, so follow me and we’ll figure out a way to make it all work later.
Nope. He said:
“No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62 ESV)
“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:26-27 ESV)
“any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple. (Luke 14:33 ESV)
Do you know how terrifying and dangerous it is to put aside God’s word today expecting that there will always be a tomorrow? Seek the Lord while He may be found. For I tell you, none of those men who were invited and made excuses shall taste the Lord’s banquet.
No more excuses.
Not because you feel guilty or obligated, but because you’ve been invited to experience the greatest reality in the universe. No more excuses because the banquet is a feast of words that speak love and glory and promises unimaginable. No more trading Jesus for lesser things. No more missing out. No more excuses.