12Then 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. 13But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."
"When you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind ..." Luke 14:13
Have you ever gone shopping and come across a bargain table? Watch for little tags that say, "Slightly irregular." It's a nice way of saying these are damaged goods.
When Jesus goes on a mission to gather God's family and turn them into the Christian community, all kinds of people are included. Rich people, ordinary people, people who seem to have it all together, and people who are slightly irregular. Actually, because of human sin, we are all damaged goods in some ways.
Now, our reading for today should not be used as biblical proof that you don't have to have your relatives over for dinner! Jesus is teaching that in God's kingdom we are all part of a community of slightly irregular people.
Have you ever received a gift out of the blue from someone? Usually our first response is surprise, and then we quickly think, "Oh, now I've got to get her something." But that isn't the way of the kingdom. Jesus reminds us to help those who cannot do anything for us in return. In fact, with Jesus in our lives it becomes second nature for us to act this way. We take our cues from Jesus, who extends his invitation to all of us.
Are you aware of some of your own flaws and irregularities? God still includes you at his banqueting table. Knowing your own weaknesses makes you a prime candidate to invite others.
Lord, you have given us so much in Jesus. Forgive us for hoarding our blessings. Make us generous people who model your extravagant love. For Jesus' sake, Amen.
See God's love, power, presence, and purpose in your life every day!