“I don’t want to hear it, just find a way!”, was something I may have heard from my parents quite often while growing up. Excuses were never accepted as a means of getting out of doing something important or ignoring responsibilities. So let’s apply that to the decision process of registering for the next retreat or conference your church or a friend’s church may be planning. Just think of all the excuses we could come up with to avoid the commitment to attend a retreat:
- I don’t have the time.
- It’s too expensive for my budget.
- I don’t feel like hanging out with people I barely know.
James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” And Mark 1:35-37 states, “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.
Out of 8,760 hours available to us in 1 year, surely we can commit a weekend (40 hours < .5%) or even a week (120 hours < 1.5%) to spending time renewing our relationship with God! Recently I went to watch The Shack at the movie theater and came home thinking, “Wouldn’t that be awesome to get away to a secluded location in the woods to spend time learning from, drawing closer to, and falling more in love with God. With all basic needs being met: food, sleep and activities; it would be even more enjoyable. Attending a retreat could be just as fulfilling as this type of encounter. After all, eternity is much longer than just 8,760 hours and preparing for eternal worship and relationship with God should be a priority of all Christians.
Matthew 6:21 states, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” I’ve heard many preachers say that you can tell a lot about someone by looking at where they spend their money. It may not be easy to write a check for $200 to attend a weekend retreat, but with diligent budgeting and discipline this amount could be set aside. When we think about some of the things we are tempted to spend our earnings on it becomes clear that sometimes affording a retreat or getaway is more about prioritizing our spending. So instead of buying that morning Starbucks Venti Freshly Brewed Coffee @ $2.45 budget that $12/week toward the next ladies retreat your church may be planning. Besides, morning coffee may be included in your retreat package and your spiritual well-being is worth the sacrifice.
Commitment to Developing Relationships
Hebrews 10: 24 states, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,…” Making connections with others has long-term benefits not only for individuals but also for the whole church body. Coming away from a spiritual retreat revived, leaders will be better equipped to encourage and minister to their congregation. Also, individuals who gain knew perspectives on Godly truths can apply those in their lives to better interact with family and friends, providing a more positive witness. God benefits when His people are unified and connected, working together for kingdom good.
So get out of your comfort zones, put away that $10/week, prioritize spiritual growth and commit to attending at least one Christian retreat over the next year! Don’t allow excuses to creep into your decision making when it comes to eternal consequences! And remember where Excuses come from: