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Who to Invite

by Elder Randy Slak

Today I would like to look at Jesus's words in Luke 14, primarily verses 12-14. Strangely enough Jesus tells us not to invite family, friends, and rich neighbors to a luncheon. What could that be all about? Jesus mentions something like reciprocity might be in the works and that will be our repayment. That would be the lesson, as we look elsewhere in the scriptures, we know the scriptures show us just the opposite as,"doing good to all men, especially those who are of the household of faith."(Gal.6:10), and many other places. But Jesus puts forth this warning, "Danger, repayment ahead, Warning." Who would talk like that? Probably Someone whose kingdom is not of this world, (John 18:36), probably Someone who says, "whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel's will save it."(Mark 8:35)

Our human hearts love re-payment, a great reward for whatever we do. To get something in return to make our lives more enjoyable. To know something that will probably come back to us so our sacrifice will be worth it. The law of reciprocity, the process of exchanging things with other people in order gain a mutual benefit. In social circles, the norm is where if one does something for you, you then feel obligated to return the favor. There is a danger here because Jesus says there is.

Jesus mentioned four types of people to invite, the poor, the crippled, the lame the blind. Surely this is not new, is it? Prov.22:9, "He who is generous will be blessed, for he gives some of his food to the poor." Prov.19:17, "One who is gracious to a poor man, lends to the Lord, and He will repay him for his good deed." It was not for no reason at all in Matt. 25:42, Jesus says, "For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink."

What is the advantage for us to invite such people? Jesus says, "you will be blessed, since they do not have the means to repay you, for (or because) you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just (or righteous)." The phrase "resurrection of the just" is only mentioned here in the New Testament. These commands and promises could only be said by One, for the scripture says, "what God had promised, He is able also to perform" (Rom.4:12). And Heb.6:10, "God is not so unjust as to forget your work and the love which you have shown toward His name."

The great commentator Alexander MacLaren said, "It is only love that is lavished on those who can make no return which is so free from the taint of secret regard to self that it is fit to be recognised as love in the revealing light of that great day, and therefore is fit to be "recompensed in the resurrection of the just."

Christ opens the chest to where our treasure is kept. As Christ says," Where your treasure is there your heart will be also."(Math.6:21)