Excuses, Excuses, Excuses…

Jeremiah 1 4-10


We all do it.. make excuses.  I can’t do that, I don’t have enough experience, I can’t do that, I’m not old enough, I’m not big enough, I’m not intelligent enough, I am just not ‘enough’. 

As I am saying this I hear the voices of different people I have encountered over my time in the ministry, I also hear it as my own voice. 

God calls us and the first thing we do is make excuses – I am not good enough.

But God called us not to be good enough, he called us because he wants us.. no excuses.

Let’s think back Noah didn’t think he could build an ark, but with God’s help he did.  Moses didn’t think he could talk to the Pharaoh because he had a stutter, but with God’s help he did.   Many people throughout the bible thought they couldn’t do it.. and Jeremiah was no exception. 

The first thing we are told is that God has known Jeremiah before he was born, when he was still in his mother’s womb.  That meant that Jeremiah has nothing to hide from God, he has always known him.  God knows him, he knows his good bits and his not so good bits, he knows his strengths and weaknesses.  So, God knows he has chosen the right man for the job.   Yet, Jeremiah still makes excuses.  ‘I can’t Lord, I am only a child, I don’t have the right words’.  But that excuse didn’t work God equipped Jeremiah – v9 then the Lord reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “Now, I have put my words in your mouth.”   

There you go Jeremiah – no excuse now.

I searched the web and Bible.org came up with the top ten excuses..

I wonder how many of them you recognise..

1. I forgot.

2. No one told me to go ahead.

3. I didn’t think it was that important.

4. Wait until the boss comes back and ask him.

5. I didn’t know you were in a hurry for it.

6. That’s the way we’ve always done it.

7. That’s not in my department.

8. How was I to know this was different'

9. I’m waiting for an O.K.

10. That’s his job—not mine.

I recognised no. 6 as one I hear in churches quite a bit.. especially when mission requires change.

God calls us all to mission, part of mission is to reach out to become relevant to those around us.  It isn’t a choice; it is what we are called to do. 

Making excuses are nothing new, and at some point we all make them.

I wonder what excuse you will make when God calls you?

Today my children’s activity revolves around God calling them to come to church on Sunday, how many excuses can they make up?

In the centre of a large piece of paper put 'God is calling you to come to church on Sunday'

Then around the words get the children to add their excuses.  'My sister is ill' 'I needed to walk the dog' 'I overslept' 'I need my sleep'



Dear Lord,

Thank you God for calling us no matter how old, or how young,

Thank you that you call us no matter what our weaknesses or our strengths.

Help us to say yes, and not make excuses.  Amen
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About Michelle Bailey

Reverend Michelle Bailey is the Rural Officer for the Bishop of Brecon and Swansea  She previously worked in Children's Ministry and was ordained in the Church of England. Her blog includes ideas on presenting concepts of faith to young children to the age of eleven and furthering faith development in an educational context. Michelle currently lives in Wales and is also developing a rural ministry blog.
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