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. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
Luke 14:12-14 (NIV)
Why do we find it so hard to be a friend to the unfriended? Perhaps it’s because we think too highly of ourselves. The context of these words from Jesus may suggest that’s what He had in mind.
The verses immediately before those in our passage capture Jesus telling us to take the lowest seat at a banquet. The verses immediately after tell the stories of those who were too busy with their own priorities to attend a great banquet. The result? The man throwing the banquet ultimately invites the unfriended of that day – “the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.” (verse 21).
If we do not think too highly of ourselves and embrace the humility that Jesus embraced, a wonderful thing often happens. Our perspective changes. We start to see wonderful, attractive attributes in people we never even took the time to see before. We come to enjoy our time with them.
A few years ago I was privileged to attend a great banquet in the Philippines. The guests included former streetdwellers, drug addicts, and the very, very materially poor, just to name a few! I don’t think I have ever had more fun at a banquet! There were wonderful stories of transformation among the guests and the amount of joy was beyond measure. I may have arrived that evening thinking ‘well aren’t they lucky that I am here as an international guest’; I definitely departed that evening thinking ‘well aren’t I lucky that they were here to bless me”.
To see others the way Jesus sees them, you have to take your eyes off of yourself.
Jesus has seized you to be a friend to the unfriended!
This is the first in the “Seized to Be A Friend to the Unfriended” series of blog posts.