But he said to him, “A man once gave a great banquet and invited many. And at the time for the banquet he sent his servant to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’ But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said to him, ‘I have bought a field, and I must go out and see it. Please have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to examine them. Please have me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come.’ So the servant came and reported these things to his master. Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, ‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ And the master said to the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedges and compel people to come in, that my house may be filled. For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste my banquet.’” Luke 14:16-24
They excuse themselves for a variety of very good reasons. They excuse themselves for business negotiations, requirements of running a farm, and a new wife. These are all good until they are known apart from God and then they lead these people away from God. What once was good has become distorted. They had forgotten that something important was coming, or maybe they had simply lost sight of the importance of the invite and the banquet.
The kingdom of God is a feast – and we are all bidden to come to the feast. But the invitation to the feast is not overpowering. It is never forced. The invite can be set aside and past over due to daily concerns that keep us from coming, from praying. The point is that though men suppose they highly prize the thought of sharing in God’s kingdom, they may in fact be rejecting appeals to enter it. But God continues to appeal to us to join in the feast.
The Son Himself said, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will refresh you.” Matt 11:28 and again, “If any man thirsts, let him come unto Me and drink.” John 7:37.