Authored by Tina Kapp
A verse in Thessalonians says, “If anyone is not willing to work, neither should he eat.”1
That’s pretty much how it works. Life is full of real consequences, and the sooner we learn to weigh up the consequences of our actions before making decisions, the better off we’ll be.
The consequences of our actions become more serious as we get older and receive more responsibility. If we don’t pay our phone bill, the service is disconnected. If we don’t pay our taxes, or take care of our other legal requirements, there’s the possibility we could end up in jail. If we don’t service our car, it will break down. Unless we earn the money to pay for things we like, we don’t get to enjoy them.
Think of a farmer who wants a good crop. He knows that he has to tend the ground, and plant and care consistently for his fields. He also knows that if he neglects it, he’ll end up with little or nothing. He doesn’t sit there blaming the weather, the weeds, the bugs, and whatnot for his lack of crops; he just gets up each morning and does what needs to be done, knowing that in doing so, he’ll reap the benefits.
Here’s a verse that shows how the birds get off easy: “Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?”2
I happen to have a tree in my garden that weaver birds regularly make nests in. It’s amazing to watch them from my window at work. They begin with one blade of grass. They fly off, find a long, thin strip of grass and come weave it into place using their beaks before flying off again for another piece. Such a tedious process! Yet they create beautiful, hanging nests in just a few days.
If you’ve ever watched the old documentary Beautiful People or read anything about weaver birds, you’ll know that once the bird is done with building his nest, he’ll call his mate to check out the finished product. If she is unhappy with it, she’ll knock it down or destroy it, and he’ll start over. They don’t do this to be mean! The females know how strong the nest needs to be to protect the baby birds against the wind and rain, and only once it’s done properly will they move in and start their little birdie family.
Let’s look at that verse again. “The fowl of the air: they sow not, nor do they reap or gather into barns.” Absolutely true! Birds are not farmers—they’re also not doctors or lawyers—yet they go about doing the work they need to do and God takes care of them.
God provided everything that the weaver bird needed to build its house and feed its young, but it’s ultimately the responsibility of the bird to do the work. God created us with brains and for the most part the ability to work and take care of ourselves, but we have to put those things to good use. Like the old saying goes, “God helps those who help themselves.” A lot of people fail to realize that they are responsible for their own lives.
I read of a young man who was being interviewed for a job after graduating from high school. He was asked how many places had he previously worked, and he said, "So far I’ve tried four jobs this summer." When the interviewer asked why he quit them, he said, "They didn’t give me enough time to party with my friends." Needless to say, he didn’t get that job either. But hopefully he learned that responsibility is also about knowing priorities and keeping things in their place.
All throughout history famous and accomplished people made their way through extremely difficult circumstances, pushing through incredible disadvantages and obstacles in order to succeed in life. People like Benjamin Franklin, whose parents could only afford to keep him in school till the age of ten. So he pursued education himself through reading. He later invented the lightning rod and bifocals and became one of the founding fathers of America.
A more recent example is Jim Carrey, who revealed to James Lipton on "Inside the Actors Studio" that when he was fifteen he had to drop out of school to support his family. His father was an unemployed musician, and as the family went from "lower middle class to poor," they eventually had to start living in their van. He didn’t let that become an excuse to quit on his dream of working in comedy. He got his dad to drive him to small-time clubs and did the best he could with what he had till he slowly went on to bigger and better things and became one of the best-known comedic actors starring in blockbusters.
Stevie Wonder has received 22 Grammy Awards in his 51 years as a musician—the most ever received by a solo male recording artist. He has been blind since birth! I so admire people like that who don’t let challenging circumstances or negative people and influences stop them. No one would blame them if they said things were too hard or too difficult, but having a “good” excuse won’t make your life any better.
As you get older, excuses matter less. It can be a tough world, and sometimes it doesn’t matter if you’re sick, tired, or have too many things to do. Your job will need to get done, and if you can’t or don’t do it, your boss will find someone who can. Realizing that now and changing your view on excuses will put you way ahead.
The first two people in the Bible, dear Adam and Eve, just after eating the fruit from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil suddenly started making excuses. According to Genesis, they had been running around starkers for their whole existence, but suddenly decided that they were afraid and didn’t come out of hiding when God called them. When God asked Adam whether or not he ate the fruit, he answered, “The woman whom You gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.” Hoping that by blaming his wife, God would change the consequences of his actions. Eve jumped right on the excuse bandwagon, saying, “The serpent deceived me and I ate.”3
What they said was true. They really had been deceived, and the serpent did trick Eve, and Eve did persuade Adam. However, the most important point is that no matter how or why they did the wrong thing, they chose to do it anyway and now had to face the consequences. That’s why stepping away from excuses, however valid it may seem, and only judging your actions by the consequences, will keep you focused on the right path.
Lorii Myers wisely said, “The power behind taking responsibility for your actions lies in putting an end to negative thought patterns. You no longer dwell on what went wrong or focus on whom you are going to blame. You don't waste time building roadblocks to your success. Instead, you are set free and can now focus on succeeding.”4
So let’s let go of the negative thought patterns and instead focus on succeeding!
1 2 Thessalonians 3:10 NET Bible
2 Matthew 6:26 KJV
3 Genesis 3
4 Quote taken from: https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/4602925.Lorii_Myers
Read by Amber Larriva. Music by sindustry(CC). Copyright© 2016 by The Family International