But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise:
One to his farm, another to his merchandise. These men, as we have seen, were discourteous from mere wilfulness, mere bad nature; but they turned away from the king's servants to their own private affairs, in order to make a show of reasonable excuse. So while it is true that men often are absorbed in their material concerns, and these may explain their neglect of religion, it is even more frequently true that men make their material interests excuse their bad-heartedness, and are busy with temporal concerns in the hope of hiding their stubborn self-willedness. A man's material interests never need really stand in the way of his religion; but if he is resolutely set against religion, he can easily make his material interests into a stumbling block in his way. A great deal of insincere talk is made about the enticement of things seen and temporal; business and pleasure are supposed to carry away men who would be pious. The honest fact is that men usually do not want to be pious, and throw themselves into their worldly concerns as a blind.
I. MATERIAL INTERESTS REGARDED AS GENUINE TEMPTATIONS. There is, for all men, even for good-willed men, a fascination in things seen and temporal. The sense sphere is attractive. In every man there is the natural ambition to succeed, to rise in, the social scale, and to win the comfort and security of wealth. Fur men with the business faculty, trade and commerce are positively attractive. In these days the range of living is so luxurious, and trade so competitive, that a man is almost compelled to put his whole mind into his business, if he is to succeed. And every man has material claims from those dependent on him. But, held in fair limitations, our material interests are not temptations. The soul's life in God finds expression through them.
II. MATERIAL INTERESTS MADE AN EXCUSE FOR BAD-HEARTEDNESS. This may be opened, illustrated, and enforced, so as to be very searching. Men do not want to be religious; they are stubbornly resolved not to go to the gospel feast. That is the real reason for their extreme interest in their farm and their merchandise. - R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: