Invitation and Excuse
Luke 14:16-24
Then said he to him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many:…

Excuses are specified by our Lord, and these all relate to necessary and even laudable things. These excuses may be taken as in division or in succession; that is to say, one man may be supposed to make one excuse, and another man another, or you may suppose the same man making all these excuses one after another. For Truth does not make to a man one good offer, and then no more; but if we are invited by Truth, we are invited again and again. Perhaps it will be most useful to ourselves to think of these excuses as made in succession. Thus, we are under an engagement to give our attention to things just and true; we are under it by virtue of our training, by virtue of our own voluntary effort directed to good; we are under an engagement to attend at the banquet of Truth. Well, now the hour arrives; Truth wants us, and the messenger comes. We are very sorry, but that "piece of land"; — still we consider ourselves under the engagement; we shall be more fortunate next time; for, after all, it is we that have to regret our failure. Another time, then, arrives; we are very sorry, but that "piece of land" has engaged us so much, that we have found it necessary to obtain several "yoke of oxen" to bring it into proper condition; we are very sorry; still we consider ourselves under the same engagement, and we hope to be more fortunate the next time. Then the messenger comes a third time: our services are indeed wanted now; our presence cannot be dispensed with; and now we say, "This is unfortunate. Our land is in excellent condition; indeed we have had so much to look after, that we have felt it necessary to take a wife, in order that our domestic affairs may be superintended. We have met with an amiable person, possessing an agreeable fortune, and we have concluded a domestic and commercial arrangement." And now, perhaps, Truth leaves us, and "lets us alone." But three times may represent any number of times, and Truth often comes more than three times. Let, then, Truth be supposed to come a fourth time. Well, now we are all very much engaged; the whole house is in a flutter of delight; there is a feast to celebrate the birth of our firstborn! So, then, Truth comes a fifth time, just when one of the children is sick of fever; and we look at Truth quite reproachfully, and say, "You would not expect me to come now, would you?" And once again Truth comes, for the last time; and now the house is in confusion, and there are signs of distress, and Truth is informed that we were not content, though we were prospering exceedingly well; but that, hearing of some gold-diggings, we had gone out, and whilst we were in the golden pit,. a great piece of quartz rock had fallen and crushed our chest right in, and there was a nugget found in the very middle of our heart, and so an end of us I That is a plain picture of what happens again and again. There are all sorts of nuggets — they need not be made of literal gold — there are all sorts of nuggets upon which a man sets his heart; and often the very attainment of the nugget, when he gets it right into the centre of that heart, is his utter destruction. For now the world will never get any more benefit of him; and Truth has visited him for the last time.

(T. T. Lynch.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Then said he unto him, A certain man made a great supper, and bade many:

WEB: But he said to him, "A certain man made a great supper, and he invited many people.

Human Depravity At the Bottom of All Excuses
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