"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. 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."
I immediately thought of our Thanksgiving dinners. Ours definitely qualified as a feast. We had enough food to feed an army. But, like most of yours I'm sure, there were no crippled, lame or blind people in sight. Because that would be.... uncomfortable. Of course, it's nice to celebrate with family. But what if we invited someone less fortunate to also enjoy our blessings....
Then in vs. 16-24, Jesus tells the story of a man hosting a banquet for many honored guests. But all of them gave excuses for why they couldn't come. So, he invited the poor, the crippled and the blind instead.
"I tell you, not one of those men who were invited will get a taste of my banquet," he said in verse 24.
How often is that us? We make excuse after excuse of why we can't "dine with the Lord" and enjoy all that He has for us. But Jesus says that if we refuse Him, we won't even get a taste of what He has for us.
The next thing that stuck out to me in this chapter was Jesus' words in vs. 26 (a verse I often try to avoid). It says,
"If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters-- yes, even his own life-- he cannot be my disciple."
In comparison to my love for God, does it look like I hate my mother and father, my sister, my husband or my child? No, I can honestly say it doesn't. It looks instead like I worship them, especially my daughter! Like so many people today, I fill up albums and blog posts and baby books about my daughter. I make sure she is dressed to impress (always with a matching hairbow!), and I show her off every chance I get. But how often do I "show off" my Lord? Do I make Him known, like I do my daughter? Sadly, I'm afraid I don't.
Now listen to this. Vs. 33 says,
"In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple."
Have I given up everything to follow Him? Better yet..... have I given up anything? After racking my brain, I can think of virtually nothing. What about you?
And rounding out the chapter is a blunt statement about our worth if we lose our saltiness (stop shining our light for Jesus).
"Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; it is thrown out."
May I work harder at shining my light, being salt, and following Jesus' commands, especially during this Holiday season. Maybe I'll volunteer at a soup kitchen or reach out to a needy child. And I pray I'll never be discounted as something to be thrown in a manure pile but instead would stand out as a true disciple of our Lord.
In Jesus' Name.