“Now that it’s summer, I will be much more physically active”, I told my doctor at my yearly physical, after stepping on the scale and being somewhat horrified by the number displayed. “It’s so difficult for me in the winter, because I love doing things outdoors, but Wisconsin winters are just too cold and icy”, I said. She nodded, probably trying in her tactful way to avoid offending me. I laughed, as an internal realization crossed my lips, “I say these things, but my veterinary clients used to tell me the same thing. Oh, it’s been winter, and my dog just didn’t get enough exercise. Now that it’s summer, things will change.” She heartily laughed and agreed that my weight increase probably didn’t happen overnight. She also reminded me that “as I get older”, my body won’t tolerate the drastic shifts between a sedentary winter and a physically active summer.
We are just full of excuses, aren’t we? It seems to be an innate part of our human nature. Why do we feel that we have to defend ourselves and our decisions (or lack thereof), instead of facing our shortcomings and changing as a result? We surely are flawed, especially in the fact that we never want to be less than awesome in our own eyes. It’s a supercharged feeling of self-esteem that drives us to make excuses. Hubris is an ugly monster.
We are not special because we are doctors. We are not special because we did something nice for someone today. Our culture is so rooted in an “I deserve it” mentality that it rules our lives. The truth is that we don’t deserve anything. The only reason we are saved is through grace. The only reason that we are allowed a place with God forever is because he sent Jesus Christ to die for our filthy, broken human souls. We will never be good without Him. We are only special because God thinks we are, despite all of our shortcomings.
“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith- and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Nothing that we have done, and nothing that we will ever do will save us. God has given us a gift, and we are instructed to receive it with gratitude and praise. In response to this gift, we are reminded of something else, “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Ephesians 8:10). If we are considered a work of art created by the hand of God, we should respond by serving others in the way that is selfless and absent of pride or excuses.
“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15).
My church small group and I were discussing this very verse recently. We ascertained that the only way to correctly handle the word of truth is to be an unfailing student of the word. To read the bible daily means to stop making excuses. You will have the time if you make the time. Otherwise, you will inevitably always be “too busy”, no matter what stage of life you are in. I remind my students of this continually, because I made the same excuse when I was in veterinary school. I thought that God would understand how demanding my schooling was, and that He would forgive me if I skipped a day here and there. The farther we stray from the word of God, the more distant our lives will be from the lives that God intends us to live. “Preach the Word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage- with great patience and careful instruction.” (2 Timothy 4:2).
What would happen if we all stopped making excuses?
Dr. Cheeks is raising deputation as the North Central Regional Representative for CVM. She is based out of Madison, Wisconsin but works in 8 states, including 6 vet schools. Find out how you can support this ministry here: www.cvmusa.org/cheeks
By: Emily Arndt, CVT, serving in Uganda
In December I joined the CLIDE team in Uganda, which includes CVM field staff, Dr. Daniel & Rachel Graham, and Waffle & Dr. Valery Lomilo, as well as other foreigners and Ugandans. CLIDE has a ministry focus that is primarily among the Karamojong and Iteso people-groups of northeast Uganda also working with the Sabiny, Batwa, and Acholi of Uganda as well as the Samburu people of Kenya. Our emphasis is on Christ-centered community development, addressing both the physical and spiritual needs of hurting people. God is moving in mighty ways in Uganda and lives are being transformed. One such example of transformation happened in January while we hosted an e3 short-term team.Read More
Veterinary Medicine creates opportunities to build trusting relationships with people who have previously been closed to the message of Christ’s love. Lena and Patrick Wensel witnessed this first-hand on a CVM short-term mission trip to Costa Rica this past summer. God used their veterinary skills to reach an “unreachable” heart – and encouraged their hearts in the process.Read More
This past Winter, Dr. Denise Cudiamat escaped the mild weather in Illinois and boarded a plane destined for the hot and humid island of Bohol, Philippines, a new CVM location. Denise and her husband, Mark, and their 22 month old son, Andrew, along with three others (2 vets, 1 spouse) spent two weeks serving and working alongside resident missionary Pastor Ken and his family.
Denise was kind enough to answer a few questions I had about her time in the Philippines.Read More
In this series we have looked at the big questions concerning suffering and the various types of suffering. We have concluded that it is not a matter of if, but when the suffering will come. The final point we will focus on is that we decide whether to turn bitter or turn to God for peace and courage. All of us have witnessed the path and the product of suffering.Read More