What holds your heart right now? Does your soul yearn for Jesus, or for the things of this world?

A woman on our mailing list wrote this distressing note: "My husband was once on fire for God. For years he gave himself faithfully to the Lord's work but today he's all wrapped up in a new pursuit. He no longer has any time for the Lord. I worry for him, because he's grown so cold."

Jesus told a parable about this very kind of legitimate pursuit. A wealthy man sent his servant to invite all his friends to a great feast he was holding. But, Scripture says, the man's friends "all with one consent began to make excuse" (Luke 14:18).

One friend told the servant, "I just bought a piece of land, sight unseen, and I have to inspect it. Please tell your master I won't be able to come." The next friend told the servant, "I just bought a yoke of oxen and I haven't had time to test them. Tell your master I can't come, because I have to go into the field to plow with them." Yet another friend told the servant, "I just got married and I'm about to take my honeymoon. I don't have time to come to the feast."

This man had invited all his friends to enjoy an intimate time of fellowship with him. He had made all the arrangements for their comfort and convenience. The table had been set and everything had been prepared, but no one came. Everyone was simply too busy or preoccupied.

Each person had a good, legitimate reason for not coming. After all, they were not avoiding their friend so that they could go partying or bar-hopping. On the contrary, the Bible commends everything these people were doing: Buying and selling can provide security for one's family, and testing a major purchase is a sound business practice. Finally, marriage is a blessing that the Scriptures encourage.

Yet, how did this wealthy man react? Scripture says, "The lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled. For I say unto you, that none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper" (verses 23-24).

Jesus makes a very clear point in this parable: Each of these good, legitimate things becomes sinful when it takes priority over the Lord.