Jesus Said What?
“When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends or your relatives or rich neighbors…But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind” Luke 14:12-13
When I was in elementary school, there was a policy that if you were to host a birthday party, you must invite everyone in the class. This rule was in place to ensure that no child would be left out and excluded. Could you imagine your classmates having birthday parties and you were the one never invited? Unfortunately, some of you may know the pain of exclusion and the shame of being the outsider.
For Jesus, the Kingdom of God is all about invitation and inclusion. Jesus intentionally chose to dine and live among people who were considered undesirables. He made friends with the “unclean.” His actions were very different from the other religious leaders of that time, who catered to the powerful and elite and intentionally segregated themselves from those they deemed “unclean.”
Whether we like it or not, Jesus’ words speak to us and to the church today. To love like Jesus, we must be invitational and inclusive. Are we going out of our way to build relationships with those who are designated “unclean” in today’s society? In a country where we find ourselves more divided each day, the need is even greater for us to obey Jesus’ teaching to be inclusive of all. While Jesus is a friend to all, he does show preferential attention to “the poor”. If we truly seek to work with Jesus and see Jesus become more real in our lives, we must take the same risks to live compassionately and inclusively with all God’s children. Who will you invite into your heart this week?