“They all with one consent began to make excuse” (Luke 14:18).
When a man prepares a feast, men rush in; but when God prepares one they all begin to make excuses and don’t want to go.
One of the excuses given in this parable was that the man invited had bought a piece of ground and had to look at it. It was a lie, for he ought to have looked at it before he bought it. Then the next man said he’d bought some oxen and must prove them. That was another lie. If he hadn’t proved them before he bought them, he should have, and could have done it after the supper just as well as before it. But the third man had the silliest, the worst excuse of all. He said he had married a wife and couldn’t come. Why didn’t he bring her with him?
These seemed to be foolish excuses, but they were not any more so than the excuses of today. Indeed, the excuses of men are getting worse and worse all the time. They say they can’t believe the Bible; it’s so mysterious. If Christians, if theologians have studied it for forty, fifty, sixty years, and then only begin to understand it more fully, how could a man expect to understand it by one reading?
Another says God is a hard Master. No, that is one of Satan’s lies. The devil is the hard master. In the Tombs of New York there is over a door the remark, “The way of the transgressor is hard.” God’s yoke is easy, His burden is light. Ask prisoners, ask gamblers, ask sinners if Satan’s yoke is easy. It’s the hardest of all.
One of the excuses that we very often hear people giving is that becoming a Christian will make them gloomy—they will have no joy until they get to Heaven. We look forward to that happy future, but, thank God, we have some pleasure here. Indeed, no man in the world should be so happy as a man of God. A man away from God cannot have true pleasure. He is continually thirsting for something he cannot get until he comes to the living fountain. The more a man is lifted up to heaven, the more joy and peace and gladness he has.
“Oh, but that is not my case,” says another. “I am too bad to become a Christian.” Notice how the master says in the parable, “Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind” (v. 21)—just invite them all. I don’t care how vile your heart may be, only accept the invitation of Jesus Christ and He will make you fit to sit down with the rest at the feast. The gospel bids you come as you are.
I haven’t exhausted all the excuses. If I covered them all, you would simply make more by tomorrow. What has to be done with all the excuses is to bundle them all up and label them “Satan’s lies.” There is not an excuse that is not a lie. When you stand at the throne of God no man can give an excuse. It is easy enough to excuse yourself to Hell, but you cannot excuse yourself to Heaven.
“Come; for all things are now ready” (Luke 14:17). Accept the invitation now, my friends. Do not let another day pass, do not eat, do not drink, until you accept the most important thing in this wide world. Blessed is he who shall be found at that marriage feast.
“And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely” (Revelation 22:17).
—D.L. Moody, condensed.