It is easy to reason that we will really be available to serve our Lord after certain things happen in our life—-in other words, in the future, but we really aren’t ready right now. It may be that we think that we are too young or that we will really be available after we get married or after we raise our family and the children grow up and leave home, or after we retire from our job, And then we may think, now I’m too old to really be effective. We seem to always have an excuse for why the present isn’t a good time to fully commit to serving God.
LIfe is divided into three basic generations:
–Generation One: Having finished our career and now winding down, relaxing, and leaving the work to others; taking time to do the things we had always wanted to do but didn’t have time or money.
–Generation Two: Busy working and raising a family. Very actively involved in the children’s activities
and hesitant to take on any extra duties or commitments.
–Generation Three: Trying to find out who we are and what we want to do in the future. Trying to gain
an identity and positive self image. Very involved with peers and school activities.
Each generation can find “excuses” why they aren’t available to serve. It is just not ”convenient” at this time. We read stories in Scripture too of some of the excuses people used to avoid serving God.
For example, look at the conversation between God and Moses when “the angel of the LORD” (the pre-incarnate Christ) appeared to Moses in the burning bush (Ex. 3:2) to request that he leave shepherding for his father-in-law, Jethro, in Midian and go back to Egypt to deliver his people, the sons of Israel, out of bondage (vv. 7-10). “But Moses said to God, ‘Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt’” (v. 11). Even though God promised He would be with Moses (v. 12), Moses continued to make excuses, saying, “Please Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither recently nor in time past, nor since Thou hast spoken to Thy servant; for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue…Please, Lord, now send the message by whomever Thou wilt” (4:10,13). In essence, Moses said, “Here am I, send someone else. I don’t qualify; and besides, I have a full-time job here for my father-in-law!” Well Moses eventually went and was successful in leading his people out of Egypt and to the Promised Land of Canaan (Moses did not get to go in).
We also have the account of God calling Jeremiah to proclaim judgment on apostate Judah. “Now the word of the LORD came to me saying, ‘Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.’ Then I said, ‘Alas, Lord God! Behold I do not know how to speak, because I am a youth.’ But the LORD said to me, ‘Do not say, ‘I am a youth,’ because everywhere I send you, you shall go, and all that I command you, you shall speak. Don’t be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you, declares the LORD’” (Jer. 1:4-8).
Jesus encountered excuse-makers during His ministry on earth as well. Once He invited someone to follow Him, “But he (the man) said, ‘Permit me first to go and bury my father’” (Lk. 9:59). The father had not yet died; the man meant that he was obligated to care for him until he died, so was not available at this time. Then Jesus told the story about “a certain man (who) was giving a big dinner, and he invited many… But they all began to make excuses. The first one said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of land and I need to go out and look at it; please consider me excused’” (Lk. 14:16,18). “Another one said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to try them out; please consider me excused’” (v. 19). (Can you imagine buying property without first looking it over, or a yoke of oxen without first trying them out?) “And another one said, ‘I have married a wife, and for that reason I cannot come’” (v. 20).
We may laugh at the excuses others have made for not following and serving the Lord, but how about our excuses—are they any better? Remember that just as with Moses and Jeremiah and everyone else that God calls to serve Him, He promises, “And I will be with you!” “He Himself has said, ‘I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU’” (Heb. 13:5 cf Ps. 118:6).
It doesn’t matter your age or stage of life, God desires to and can use you right where you are—right now! I think about how God used young Timothy to whom Paul wrote: “Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe” (I Tim. 4:12). I think about young David when he was the only one willing to take on Goliath, the giant Philistine, saying to him, “You come to me with a sword, a spear, and a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have taunted” (I Sam. 17:11). And then there was Joash who became king of Judah at age seven “reigned for forty years in Jerusalem…And Josiah did right in the sight of the LORD all his days…” (II Kgs. 11:21-12:2). A few years later, Josiah became king over Judah at the “ripe old age” of eight! “And he reigned thirty-one years in Jerusalem…And he did right in the sight of the LORD and walked in all the way of his father David, nor did he turn aside to the right or to the left” (II Kgs. 22:1-2). And don’t forget young Samuel who heard God speaking to Him and said, “Speak, for Thy servant is listening” (I Sam. 3:10). And also who can forget about a young teenager named Mary living in the little village of Nazareth. She was engaged to be married when the angel Gabriel appeared to her to saying, “Hail, favored one! The Lord is with you…Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. And behold you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and shall name Him Jesus…And Mary said, ‘Behold the bondslave of the Lord, be it done to me according to your word’” (Lk. 1:26-38).
Obviously God desires to use those in their youth and young adult years to serve Him. But He also calls those who are in their middle age, working and raising families. I think about many examples in Scripture of the disciples Jesus called like Peter and Andrew and James and John who were in a fishing business, and of Matthew, a tax collector and of Luke, a physician, and Saul of Tarsus, a tentmaker.
God can also use those of us who are in our “golden years,” Why they call it that, I’m not sure, unless it refers to all the crowns on our teeth! When God called Moses to go back to Egypt to deliver the Israelites he was eighty years old and spent the next forty years leading them to Canaan. When the Israelites conquered Canaan and they were dividing up the land, Caleb said, “I have followed the LORD my God fully…I am eighty-five years old today. I am still as strong today as I was in the day Moses sent me; as my strength was then, so my strength is now, for war and for going out and coming in. Now then, give me this hill country (where the giant Anakim lived in their fortified cities!)” (Josh. 14:8-14). I am reminded too of aged Simeon and Anna who were serving in the Temple and were privileged to see the Christ child when His parents brought Him to present Him to the Lord.
There is no age or stage of life when we shouldn’t be available to serve God right where we are “For such a time as this.” Rather than make excuses, say, “God, I am available to You today. Use me to share your love and mercy and forgiveness with the people you put in my path today, that You might be glorified.”