In my final year of Bible college, I remember one of our lecturers trying to organise an extra class at the end of the year for us to complete some of the material. We were all tired, exams were around the corner, graduation was near, and it was a usual, busy November.
The lecturer suggested a day and time, and a classmate cheekily responded, “You’ll have to excuse me. I’ve bought a field and I need to inspect it.”
As a joke, he was paraphrasing words from a parable Jesus told in Luke 14:15-24. In the parable, a man was throwing a great party. He had invited his guests. But when the time came for the party to begin, his invited guests began to make excuses as to why they were too busy to come to the party. One said he’d bought a field and needed to see it (who buys a field without inspecting it first?!). Another had bought a 10 oxen “sight unseen”. Another said he had just got married, and rather felt like staying in with the wife. All the excuses were pretty poor.
The last few months of the year are incredibly busy for most of us. The Melbourne Cup seems to mark the beginning of “silly season”. From then on there are graduations, speech nights, office parties, end-of-year events, exams, holidays, Christmas celebration, Christmas parties, Christmas shopping, etc. etc.
All of these things good (and fun things) can slowly and relentlessly crowd out those things which are really important, and which have eternal significance. Things like reading your Bible, praying (on your own and as a family), going to church, going to your small group, and inviting unsaved friends and family to hear the good news about Jesus at church Christmas events.
If Jesus asked, “What made you stop going to church? Or what made you stop talking to me and reading my Word?”, how would our excuses sound? “I was at a Christmas party one Saturday night, I was tired the next day, so I skipped church. Skipping out just got easier than going.” Won’t be at least a little ashamed of our excuse?
In his book Crazy Busy, Kevin DeYoung makes the point, “What is wrong, and heartbreakingly foolish and wonderfully avoidable, is to live a life with more craziness than we want because we have less Jesus than we need.”
Instead, let’s be intentional about prioritising our relationships with Jesus, especially at this busy time of year. Let’s put Jesus first, and let everything follow.
Live it: Put Jesus first at this busy time of year.