By Matt Clark
I’ve been blessed with some great jobs in my life. My first was at a coffee shop where I became addicted to Cappuccinos. My second was at a video rental store where I became addicted to movies. Anyone remember Blockbuster Video? The last part-time job I ever had was at an ice rink. This job had some great perks. Free ice skating, I could watch Hockey games without paying, and the best of all; I got to drive the Zamboni.
This amazing invention is the truck that drives around the rink smoothing out the surface while laying down fresh water to make the ice look like glass. It is truly a marvel. There are three things that capture a person’s attention unlike anything else; running water, a flame, and a Zamboni.
My manager approached me one day and asked me if I had any interest in learning how to drive it. My answer was “obviously.” Without hesitation, he walked me over to the Zamboni to give me a tutorial during the busiest time of the week; open skate. This was the time when hundreds of people were using the rink. It was also a terrible time to learn how to drive since any mistake would be made in front of a massive audience.
I felt very unprepared for what awaited. I tried to postpone the training to a time when no-one else would be in the rink but my manager wasn’t having it. It was time. No excuse could save me. With my manager sitting beside me, I drove the Zamboni for the first time and only made one mistake; I drove it into the wall. The loud crash sound definitely got me some looks. But all in all, it wasn’t that bad. I felt great afterward and every drive following that day got easier and easier.
Fear was an excuse that almost prevented me from learning one of the best experience of my life. Have you ever come up with an excuse that prevented you from doing what God wanted? We see this happen in scripture over and over again. Let’s look at the time when Jeremiah tried giving God an excuse:
4 The word of the Lord came to me:
5 I chose you before I formed you in the womb; I set you apart before you were born. I appointed you a prophet to the nations.
6 But I protested, “Oh no, Lord God! Look, I don’t know how to speak since I am only a youth.”
7 Then the Lord said to me: Do not say, “I am only a youth,” for you will go to everyone I send you to and speak whatever I tell you.
8 Do not be afraid of anyone, for I will be with you to rescue you. This is the Lord’s declaration.
9 Then the Lord reached out his hand, touched my mouth, and told me: I have now filled your mouth with my words.
10 See, I have appointed you today over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and demolish, to build and plant.
NO EXCUSE IS BIGGER THAN GOD
We see clearly in this passage that Jeremiah was trying to get out of what God had planned for him. And if I’m being honest, I’m not sure I would have reacted differently; especially when you consider the context of what was happening around him.
“Prior to Jeremiah’s birth, Judah found itself wedged between two world superpowers. The tiny Kingdom was set between Egypt and Assyria, and for the last hundred years or so, Assyria had brought the entire region into its empire. Any attempt at rebellion had been squelched. The Northern Kingdom of Israel, for example, had tried to rebel, but she was overrun and her people were deported. Here existence as a kingdom was ended by the bully on the block.
In Judah, King Josiah had come to power at the age of 8. When he was 20 years old, Josiah began a sweeping reform of the nation, calling people far and wide to return to the Lord and destroy their idols. It was during this period of spiritual awakening that Jeremiah was called to begin prophesying and preaching.”
-Michael Kelley, The Gospel Project; Volume 5, Unit 2, Session 10.
During these hard times, Jeremiah resorted to using “inexperience” as an excuse. He used his age as a reason why he couldn’t do what God was asking.
Have you ever done this? Used an excuse?
- I’m too young.
- I don’t have time.
- I’m scared.
- I have a problem with my speech. (That’s a shout out to Moses)
Remember this fact; If it’s God plan, nothing can stop it. Especially something insignificant like age. No excuse you can come up with can stop God. So why make them? Imagine if God had responded; “you know what? I forgot you were that young. That completely slipped my mind. I’m sorry. Let me find somebody else.”
You can’t imagine it because it has never happened. God has a plan for you and this plan has been in place before you were even conceived. Let’s trust that God knows what He’s doing.
GOD WILL EQUIP YOU
I might as well tell you about my first full-time job. It was at a bank. Before my first day, I was extremely nervous about how I would perform at my job. I was told that handling people’s money can be very stressful due to how people react. What scared me was that I didn’t know anything about banking. I had never done it before.
My wife eased my mind when she pointed out that my first week on the job was dedicated to training. There was no way they were going to put me in the bank without any knowledge of what to do.
My favorite verse from the passage above is when God says to Jeremiah “I have now filled your mouth with my words” (verse 9). How relieving it must have been to realize that God was in control. Jeremiah just needed to be the willing mouthpiece.
Something amazing happens when we share our faith with others. The Holy Spirit takes over and gives us the words to say. I was amazed one time when one of my managers asked me why I believed in Jesus. The whole conversation made me nervous out of fear that I wouldn’t be able to answer her questions. What I found was that my willingness to share the gospel was rewarded by the Holy Spirit giving me the words to say. I left that conversation in awe of how God had spoken through me.
God will equip you to fulfill His plan.
I like to think of God as the travel agent who takes care of all the details of our trip. We just need to be willing to go.
Never let excuses prevent you from taking the journey that God has planned for you.