He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”
Luke 14:12-14 (ESV)
This week I was invited to a luncheon or dinner every day. I didn’t tell my hosts that they should invite someone in need rather than me. It never entered my mind. I felt joyful that friends would invite me to lunch with them.
But Jesus has always turned traditions upside down, and in the process, reminded His followers and His haters of why He came. After all, it seems right to invite our friends rather than strangers and stragglers. The most comfortable meals, or so we think, are those we share with people that we know and like. Yet, I know from experience that some of the most enjoyable meals I’ve shared with others are those under the overpass with the homeless, those cooked for people without family or homes. Doesn’t it make sense that God would be especially present when we are sharing our lives in ways that represent more fully who He is?
Some will spend the Christmas holidays serving others in need. Others will make a place at the table for for someone who is lonely, poor, and forgotten. For most of us, this will involve a very small sacrifice, minimal effort, and yet, the blessing will be all ours.