Read Luke 14:15-20
15 Hearing this, a man sitting at the table with Jesus exclaimed, “What a blessing it will be to attend a banquet in the Kingdom of God!”
16 Jesus replied with this story: “A man prepared a great feast and sent out many invitations. 17 When the banquet was ready, he sent his servant to tell the guests, ‘Come, the banquet is ready.’ 18 But they all began making excuses. One said, ‘I have just bought a field and must inspect it. Please excuse me.’ 19 Another said, ‘I have just bought five pairs of oxen, and I want to try them out. Please excuse me.’ 20 Another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’ (NLT)
It is interesting that the things that keep these invitees from the banquet are all in themselves good things. Inspecting property seems reasonable. Trying out the oxen seems fair enough. And nothing at all wrong with settling in to a new marriage. It seems intrinsically good things can keep us from sharing fully in the life and ways of Jesus.
Hear what John Piper says about this: “The greatest adversary to love of God is not his enemies but his gifts. And the most deadly appetites are not for the poison of evil but for the simple pleasures of earth. When these replace an appetite for God himself, the idolatry is hardly noticeable and almost incurable.”
None of this means we forsake the simple pleasures of earth, let alone curse them as wicked. Rather we place even these good things under the overarching rule of Jesus. We are not simply tempted away from him by outright wickedness. We are drawn away from him by our attachment to trivialities, by our materialistic preoccupations, by being satisfied with the gifts of God rather than seeking God himself.
Idolatry takes many forms but has one result: a lessening appetite for God and a flickering experience of him.