OUT TO PASTOR: As the cookie crumbles, so do my excuses


By Dr. James L. Snyder

Several weeks ago, I was at home alone when the doorbell rang. I answered the door to find 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.

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.

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