Give, Rather than Receive (Luke 14:1-24)

 One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, he was being carefully watched. 2 There in front of him was a man suffering from dropsy. 3 Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts in the law, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?” 4 But they remained silent. So taking hold of the man, he healed him and sent him away.

5 Then he asked them, “If one of you has a son or an ox that falls into a well on the Sabbath day, will you not immediately pull him out?” 6 And they had nothing to say.

7 When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: 8 “When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. 9 If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this man your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. 10 But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all your fellow guests. 11 For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

12 Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or 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 14:1-14)
 Learn it:

            Jesus is again going after the Pharisees again.  We see that they have hard hearts because they are now at the point where they are not talking with Jesus when he asks questions.  So, Jesus takes the opportunity to tell them a story.  It was typical of the culture back them for the most honored guests would show up late.  The point of the story is that it is better to be humble so that you can be honored than be prideful and be shamed.  Humility is not an emotion we naturally go to.  We like to be recognized.  The big question is, do we want to be recognized here on earth or in heaven?  

            Next, Jesus gives some advice on who to invite to your party.  He says that if a person wants to show true hospitality then they would invite people who cannot pay them back.  That is authentic hospitality.  If you invite someone over with the expectation of them reciprocating in the future, then that’s not hospitality.  I want to say, that’s not a bad thing to do.  That’s a way to build fellowship!  We want to bring others into the family of Christ and a good way to do that is by showing hospitality.      
 Live it:

            Being a follower of Christ means we have to set aside our pride and love those that are on the fringes of society.  It is so easy to love those that are the same as you but Christ was always challenging social norms.  Who do you know at work or in your neighborhood that could use a hand?  You can do it simply by inviting them over for dinner and getting to know them.  That will be so much more meaningful to them than you dropping off a meal for them.  Showing them what a Christian community looks like could have a powerful impact in their life.  Who can you invite over to your house for a meal? 

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