Most of us are aware of how negative things can distract us from following Jesus, but we may fail to recognize that sometimes the allure of good things can do the same. This was the point of one of Jesus’ parables to the people. Jesus taught that a master had prepared a banquet and invited others to come, but they were all too busy. One had a field to go inspect, another had just purchased oxen and needed to try them out, a third had just gotten married. They all asked to be excused. Each one had an apparently legitimate excuse to refuse. We can recognize the importance of attending to our affairs and fulfilling our responsibilities. However, they failed to recognize the value of the invitation. They were given a once in a lifetime opportunity, which they refused. Their priorities were out of alignment. So there place was taken by others and the invitation would not be repeated to these men.
Jesus wants us to realize the value of following him, that nothing on earth, even the wonderful blessings and responsibilities that we have on earth can compare with following him. The result of refusing Jesus’ invitation can only be the sadness that the Rich Young Ruler felt when he left Jesus’ presence. While he had maintained his wealth, he felt sadness. All the wealth in the world could not make up for the emptiness he felt from not following Jesus. In another place, Jesus put it more bluntly with the question, what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul? Something we should keep in mind as we set the priorities for our own life.