Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Parable of the Guests

Luke 14:7-14

7 When Jesus noticed that all who had come to the dinner were trying to sit in the seats of honor near the head of the table, he gave them this advice: 8 “When you are invited to a wedding feast, don’t sit in the seat of honor. What if someone who is more distinguished than you has also been invited? 9 The host will come and say, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then you will be embarrassed, and you will have to take whatever seat is left at the foot of the table!
10 “Instead, take the lowest place at the foot of the table. Then when your host sees you, he will come and say, ‘Friend, we have a better place for you!’ Then you will be honored in front of all the other guests. 11 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

12 Then he turned to his host. “When you put on a luncheon or a banquet,” he said, “don’t invite your friends, brothers, relatives, and rich neighbors. For they will invite you back, and that will be your only reward. 13 Instead, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. 14 Then at the resurrection of the righteous, God will reward you for inviting those who could not repay you.”

S - Scripture

14 Then at the resurrection of the righteous, God will reward you for inviting those who could not repay you.

O - Observation

This parable talks about humility (verses 7 to 11) and kindness / charity (verses 12 to 14). Jesus notes that true charity is giving with no strings attached. Giving with strings attached is not charity--it is a form of selfishness. God gave because He loved; not because He wanted something in return.

A - Application

This parable challenges us to give to the marginalized in our culture. It is easy to give to people close to us and to those who can help us. It's not as compelling to give to the stranger--especially the marginalized.

This parable would be an excellent teaching to revisit at Christmas. Most of us are guilty of excess at Christmas. When our excess turns to modesty, the extra we would give to the poor, crippled, lame, and blind would bless both the recipient and the giver (verse 14).

P - Prayer

Lord, help me to give like you. I don't want to give because of self-interest. I want to give because of who I am in you. Help me to give generously to people who need what I have to give the most. Amen.

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