In the parable that opens Chapter 22, Jesus tells of a father who invites many guests to a wedding feast for his son. But those invited are just too busy. It says, “But they paid no attention and went off, one to his farm, another to his business…” In Luke’s rendition of the story, they all make excuses; they have oxen to train, fields to plow, families to manage, etc. All the reasons are clearly exposed as flimsy excuses.

Many today can’t fit Jesus into their schedule either. They too have cars to wash, games to attend, sleep to catch up on, tasks to accomplish, and lots of other excuses. C. H. Spurgeon tells a story in which a preacher visited a wealthy ship owner and asked the man regarding the state of his soul. The merchant replied, “Soul? I have no time to take care of my soul. I have enough to do just taking care of my ships.” But he was not too busy to die, which he did a week later.

Living in the light of the brevity of our lives tends to motivate us to focus on things that really matter. There is an old Greek story of a soldier who had a terminal illness. In every battle he stood out with incredible bravery because he expected death at any time. His general, Antigonus, was so moved by his courage that he found a physician who cured the soldier of his disease. From that moment on the valiant soldier was no longer seen at the front. He avoided danger instead of seeking it, and sought to protect his life instead of risking it on the field.”

Jesus taught us this truth in Matthew 16. He said, “For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul?”

“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding feast, but they would not come. “ Matthew 22:3