Several weeks ago, I was at home alone when the doorbell rang. I answered the door to ﬁ nd representatives from a local Girl Scout troop doing what they do so well; selling Girl Scout cookies.
The Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage was not home so danger was not lurking behind the living room curtains. When Girl Scouts come selling cookies, I am cookie dough in their fund-raising hands.
“Hello, mister,” they chimed, “We’re selling cookies to raise money for ….”
I immediately interrupted and exclaimed, “Yes, yes, I’ll take all you have!”
When the passion of the moment passed, I did not need a fortune cookie to know I was going to be in big trouble with the wife, one tough cookie. Catching me with my hand in the cookie jar is serious business with her.
After all, 27 boxes of Girl Scout cookies are rather difﬁcult to conceal, let alone explain. I was about to toss my cookies when an idea presented itself. What I needed was a good sureﬁre excuse.
Excuses, which are a way of life for many people, have been around as long as mankind. In fact, it was the ﬁrst man, Adam, who invented the pass-the-buck phenomenon for the beneﬁt of all those who would follow him.
It occurred in the Garden of Eden, if you remember your Bible stories, just after Eve encountered the serpent, enticing her to eat of the forbidden fruit. Eve immediately baked an apple pie a la mode for Adam.
When God confronted Adam with the situation, Adam immediately said, “The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.” This, then, was the beginning of excuse-making to get out of a difﬁcult situation.
Although a man may have invented excuse-making, it took a woman to develop it into an art form. Men, you see, are too literal and unsophisticated to develop a series of plausible excuses.
For example, a man will say, “Bob, my wife won’t let me go ﬁshing with you next Sunday,” and it stops there. Nothing needs to be added, Bob knows exactly what the score is. After all, he has been there with his own wife.
Women feel compelled to introduce the element of emotion into every situation. Why is it that women are more gifted than men when it comes to making believable excuses? I certainly don’t know the answer, and that’s the only excuse I can think of at the moment.
Getting back to those Girl Scout cookies, I knew I needed to come up with some excuse or better yet, several excuses to explain why I bought 27 boxes of cookies when I’m not supposed to eat cookies.
Because I’m just a man, the only excuse I could come up with was “the Devil made me do it.”
Unfortunately, my wife did not accept that excuse and I immediately knew I was in trouble. Exasperated, my wife decided to help me come up with a list of viable excuses to use the next time Girl Scouts with cookies knock on the parsonage door.
Reasons I can’t buy cookies:
- My mother made me eat cookies when I was young.
- I only eat cookies at Christmas and Easter.
- I don’t believe in eating packaged cookies.
- I’m satisfied with watching people on TV eat cookies.
- I’m too busy to eat cookies. Try another time.
- I don’t have any good clothing to wear while eating cookies.
- I’m too old and cookies really are for the young.
- I don’t believe cookies really exist.
- I don’t eat cookies. I prefer donuts.
- I’m afraid the roof will fall in if I eat cookies.
- My wife and I cannot agree on which cookie we like.
To put it mildly, I was impressed with the growing list of excuses my wife was able to come up with in such a short period. It showed she had practiced this art form for many years. I never could have come up with such a list on my own.
As I studied my new list, I was certain I could face any Girl Scout in the future. My wife does not share my conﬁdence and no longer permits me to answer the door when the Girl Scouts are on the prowl. She is worried any preconceived excuse would quickly dissolve at the ﬁrst sight of those cookies.
What is an excuse? An excuse is a lie at both ends, held together by the glue of convenience.
For some people, a bad excuse is better than no excuse at all. These people spend their whole lives justifying everything they do or don’t do. After this experience, I began to understand all the excuses people have given me over the years for not attending church. Whenever I approached the subject, they seemed ready with some excuse and usually backed by plenty of others if needed.
I now see they spent quality time devising these excuses that, to their thinking, got them off the hook.
All excuses seem quite ridiculous in light of what the Bible says. “Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25).
Not all the excuses in the world will stand the test of eternity. That is just the way the cookie crumbles.
[Dr. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, 1471 Pine Road, Ocala, FL 34472. He lives with his wife in Silver Springs Shores. Call him at 352-687-4240 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. The church web site is www. whatafellowship.com.]