What has to happen for you to miss Sacrament Meeting? Is it something as small as a rock in your shoe, or do meteors have to hit your home?
As the Relief Society President, I was talking about this with my bishop recently, and we were marveling at the lack of commitment among some of the members who consider themselves totally active. We all fall somewhere on the continuum, hopefully on the side of the truly converted who will come to church “at all hazards” and make it priority to renew our covenants. But there are many members who trail in late-or miss church entirely-and for flimsy excuses they would be embarrassed to share, if the Lord himself should ask them.
Here’s a partial list of the excuses I’ve heard over the years. See if you’ve ever used any of them, and see if you can find the point where a line could be drawn between poor attempts at justifying laziness, and legitimate reasons for missing:
My hair is wet.
My clothes aren’t ironed.
I can’t find my shoes/keys/coat.
I think I’m getting a headache.
I just don’t feel good.
My car needs washing.
I didn’t sleep well.
Church starts too early.
I had a tough week at work and want to rest.
I accidentally stayed up too late.
My apartment complex serves brunch then.
I have a black eye.
This is truly a bad hair day.
I need to work out at the gym.
I’m going on vacation and need to pack.
I’m on vacation.
I just got back from vacation and I’m tired.
I have a school assignment due on Monday.
People are coming for dinner that night and I need to prepare.
You should see what a mess my house is.
My husband/wife won’t come.
I’ve been offended.
My child has a ballgame then.
I have no one to sit with.
I don’t like crying babies.
It was just one of those mornings.
It was such a beautiful day we went for a drive.
I don’t have a ride.
I don’t have a calling.
The weather is too cold/hot/stormy.
My leg is broken.
I have a fever.
I’m recovering from surgery.
I’m so sick I’m flat on my back in bed.
I’m having a baby.
A meteor hit my house.
I’m being held at gunpoint.
My house is on fire.
I’m having a heart attack and paramedics are en route.
Okay, I confess I haven’t heard the last few with my own ears, but you get the idea. And I hope you draw the line waaay down the list, determined to beat Satan at his own lame game, and prove to yourself, and to your Savior, that you won’t let life’s little blips throw you off your game. Don’t we all want to renew the promises we made-and received-at baptism? That commitment should override any excuse short of a genuine emergency, and keep the bishop from wondering just how active you really are.
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Hilton has written 20 books, three award-winning plays, and is a frequent public speaker and a former TV talk show host. She is also the author of the “As the Ward Turns” series, “The Ten-Cow Wives’ Club,” and “The Power of Prayer.” Hilton is a frequent writer for “Music & The Spoken Word,” many national magazines. She is married to TV personality Bob Hilton, is the mother of four, and currently serves as Relief Society President in her ward in northern California. She can be reached at her website, jonihilton.com, Twitter:@JoniHilton, and Facebook: Joni Hilton.