The necessary ineffectiveness of excuses

th-35Someone asked how long we are going to be in the story of Gideon and my initial answer is: As long as it takes.

As long as it takes to get the fact that God uses weak, scared, insignificant people like all of us here at the Catch. And it’s not the fact that God somehow manages a way to use us too. It’s that God uses only weak, scared, insignificant people. And, like we found out yesterday, if you are not weak, scared and insignificant, just wait … you will be soon. God will reduce you to that if He is going to use you. He will knock you down. It’s almost as if you have to renounce your strengths for God to use you. Well forget the “almost” … you do have to renounce your strengths for God to use you. Gideon’s strength in terms of manpower when he went to fight the Midianites was less than 1% of what it was when he first showed up (300 out of 32,000). Think God is trying to make a point here?

How many different ways are there to say this? Well, the fact that the whole Bible, Genesis to Revelation, is full of stories and teaching on this one thing tells us how important this is. It is not about numbers. It is by faith that we conquer kingdoms, administer justice, gain what is promised, shut the mouths of lions, quench the fury of flames, and escape the edge of the sword. It is by faith that “weakness was turned into strength; and men and women became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies.” (Hebrews 11:33-34 – emphasis mine)

When Jesus broke out His three-year ministry with: “Blessed are the poor in spirit” — those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst after righteousness (because they know they are unrighteous), the persecuted — He was not saying “Blessed are these people, too.” Nor was He singling out these people for a special blessing because they’ve had such a difficult lot in life. No, He was saying, very clearly — and the rest of His ministry backs this up — that these are the only people who are blessed. Forget the Pharisees. Forget the proud. Forget the strong and the mighty. These do not contribute to the kingdom of God; in fact, they are at odds with it.

But then there is the other half of this truth, and that is the fact that we have to show up anyway in order for God to use us. Gideon was weak, scared and insignificant with his strength reduced by 99%, but he showed up. That’s the faith part. That’s the courageous part. That’s what you and I get to do: show up anyway. Sometimes I need to be counting on this truth in order to merely get out of bed in the morning.

And don’t even think about dragging out your excuses before the Lord. It’s a waste of time. He will just say, “So?,” because the things you are using as excuses are the very reasons why He chose you.

None of my excuses apply, because all excuses start and end with me. Now if I am all I have to work with, then my excuses are valid. But God starts with me, and ends with Himself, so my excuses are merely the pathway to His strength. That is the movement of faith: Start with us … end with God. Getting there is the adventure!

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2 Responses to The necessary ineffectiveness of excuses

  1. Mark Seguin says:

    Gosh darn you,Pastor John, LOL first you beat me up w/ the truth, which sometime I don’t like to read, or think about that: in me. I know there is no righteous, but sometimes, no most of the times, I can be a pretty good faker and luv to try & hide that fact. So has I’m beating myself up, you end today’s Catch w/ so many truths: “But God starts with me, and ends with Himself, so my excuses are merely the pathway to His strength. That is the movement of faith: Start with us … end with God. Getting there is the adventure!”

    And what a great adventure this life of faith is!!!
    PS this is also sooo cool: “Someone asked how long we are going to be in the story of Gideon and my initial answer is: As long as it takes.” Great answer! And I’m getting a ton out of these Catches!

  2. Peter Leenheer says:

    On my calendar it states the following, “Unless there is a willingness to risk there is no need for faith”. People who are insignificant, doubting, afraid and don’t believe in themselves this takes a huge faith, thank goodness we have an astronomically huge God.

    Deuteronomy 20: 1 – 8 gives God’s commands for an army if going to war. This to me seems like an army of old age pensioners. When the odds are staked against us God does His best work. Just don’t but God in a box or you never see the real God. Have Faith!!!!

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