”Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. 13 But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” Luke 14.12-14
A part of me would love to go back in time and have dinner with Jesus. Can you even imagine? Sitting at the table not only with a great man but with God? Much of what we do today in our western culture is because he commanded it. He emphasized helping the poor, the hurting, the lost and the lonely.
But another part of me would be a little concerned about the parable he would offer when looking at my life. Much of what he said he took from his present circumstances. He would be walking through a grain field and begin a parable about the harvest of souls. He would walk along the Sea of Galilee and begin a story on catching fish and catching people. Here, he’s at a banquet and is teaching about how we must love our neighbor and seek no reward in doing so.
Jesus’ instructions to the host is that when you throw a dinner party, don’t just invite your friends or those who have influence. If you do, Jesus said, they “might invite you back and so repay you.” Instead, invite those who are “poor, crippled, lame and blind….and you will be blessed. They can not repay you but you will repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
If there is one discipline the church does very well, in relation to secular institutions, is caring for the sick and hurting. The history of hospitals developed out of this Christian conviction (for more visit https://biblemesh.com/blog/the-christian-origins-of-hospitals/). Because Jesus was the healer of sick, Christians took up this mantel as well. This is characteristic of who our Master was and is, and we should walk as he walked.
As I look and labor in prayer over the world scene, the hurting and broken both here and abroad (thinking of Afghanistan at the moment and terrible conditions of the people after the take over by the Taliban), I’m reminded of our calling to love those who are hurting and help whenever the need arises. Although I may not be able to reach half way around the world, I can make a difference through prayer and by helping someone closer to home.
God is the God of healing, hope and wholeness. When we serve others, we may not be repaid in this life, but as Jesus said, “in the resurrection of the righteous.” This is our goal and this is His glory.
”O Lord God, come now, Father, restore the broken. Heal the sick, love the lost, redeem the broken, save the hurting. Call us to offer the Bread of Life to everyone we meet. I praise you Lord for the insight of your Word and how your parables compel us to follow. By your Holy Spirit, we will be your hands and feet. Offering the physical and spiritual needs to all who are in need. Come now, Holy God, help us walk in your life. For you are good and your love endures forever.” Amen