Switch gears, the Lord says. Look around at who is not getting invited and have a banquet that includes them. Don’t worry about being repaid. Jesus says you will be repaid in heaven. And by then you won’t care because your life was so enriched by serving others…
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.”
How much of our lives is based on reciprocity? You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours… Jesus criticizes those who do things for others knowing that they will repay the kind gesture. That’s a transaction. That’s friendship with a ledger. There are debits and credits and a balance.
As usual, Jesus’ way is better than the world’s way. His standard is higher and the outcome greater than if we follow the ways of the world. Jesus says do nice things for people who cannot repay you.
He gives the example of the poor, crippled, lame, and blind, who wouldn’t be invited to a banquet. Those are precisely whom Jesus says we should invite. The standard invite list is a bunch of people who consider their options and often beg off with excuses. They have business to attend to or other personal commitments. Or just plain excuses.
So switch gears, the Lord says. Look around at who is not getting invited and have a banquet that includes them. And don’t worry about being repaid or invited back. Put that out of your mind. Stop tracking deeds of friendship and generosity in a ledger.
Why? God deals in eternity bucks. Jesus says you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous. In heaven. That’s when you can run the tally. And guess what? You won’t. You won’t do it. You won’t care. You will have lived a full life of investing in real people with no agenda. The fullness of life that will come of that investment will astound. And Jesus will track the payback.