Who is on your invite list? And how are you serving those who don’t appear on the list of the who’s who? Jesus teaches us today that instead of inviting and including people who can repay us, we ought to be merciful and invite people to our dinners who cannot repay…
1 One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, he was being carefully watched.
12 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 14:1, 12-14
Jesus’ second dinner party parable was all about hosting a dinner banquet. All eyes were on Jesus here at this religious leader’s house, and he used the opportunity to teach them a thing or three. Today’s bottom line message is that we should be merciful and inclusive in our invitation lists.
Guest lists are not exercises in mutual back-scratching. It’s true that if we invite so-and-so, there is a good chance that so-and-so will invite us back. The reciprocity of invitations is alive and well. Hospitality is expected among our friendship circles, and if we don’t invite people back to our homes after they invite us to theirs, we risk violating social mores.
Jesus blows this up in his teaching today. Be merciful, and instead of inviting people whom you know can serve you back, invite some people whom you know cannot serve you back. Invite some people who probably don’t receive invitations at all. Be merciful.
Two things will happen. You will be blessed in life and you will be repaid in eternity. Please understand that this will not earn you eternity. Heaven isn’t a pay-as-you-go system. You cannot earn eternal life. God will, however, provide rewards to people in heaven for such mercy on earth.
Who is on your invite list? And how are you serving those who don’t appear on the list of the who’s who?