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When I was working in the police we had a performance review every six months. In an ideal world this would be done by sitting down with your Sergeant who would have a chat with you and fill in the review giving you feedback for the last six months and goals for the next six. In reality you would be asked to fill in the forms yourself and this would invariably become a task of trying to show how brilliant you are at the job in as many different ways as possible.

There was also some debate about who actually read these things, we’d spend hours writing them and never hear anything else once they were sent into the abyss! I once challenged my Sergeant to include a quote from Anchorman in one of my reviews. So now somewhere in North Yorkshire Police HQ is a review proclaiming that ‘Nick has many leather bound books and his apartment smells of rich mahogany’ which, while true, is neither here nor there.

The thing that always interested me though, was the way people felt the need to justify themselves when challenged about a goal they had not completed. The wide variety of excuses on display was phenomenal and not in a good way. It seems that in our culture we are destined to become defined by excuses. When challenged about any under performance we instantly go on the defensive giving a list of excuses for why we haven’t achieved.

This happens in our churches too. It is easy to make excuses for poor priorities: excuses for not regularly meeting together, for not praying for that person you told you would, excuses for not reading our Bibles or spending time with God. Excuses for why we deserve to ‘just relax’ rather than spend our time wisely, and excuses for using prayer as a chance to gossip.

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t relax, or miss the occasional church service, but when it becomes a habit rather than a one off we have to ask ourselves why we don’t want to spend time with our family. And do we really want to stand before God bumbling and mumbling our excuses?

Hebrews 10:24-25 ‘And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

I need to sort out my priorities, because I’d rather be defined by weakness than defined by excuses.

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