Thursday 23 August, 2012
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 person 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 the other guests. 11 For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves 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 sisters, your 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.”
Jesus noticed that the guests picked the places of honour at the table. This would not have come as a surprise to Him. This, unfortunately, is basic human (flawed) nature- to want the best for yourself without considering others. You see it very early on in young children fighting over a toy or something else they want. And so we have to work hard (with God's help) to train ourselves out of this tendency to grab for the best for ourselves.
This parable of Jesus and also his follow-up statement challenges my self-centredness which, it seems, is something that needs to be regularly challenged. It's a reminder for me to check my motivation in what I do, because even a
'good' work can have a selfish motivation.
Firstly, the parable challenges my motivation in wanting to feel important and get recognition. Am I happy to serve even if no one (besides God) ever notices or thanks me for it?
Secondly, the statement following the parable challenges my motivation in relating to people. Am I only relating to the people that I enjoy hanging out with, or am I reaching out to people in need who may not be able to give me anything in return?
Lord, may you continually help me to serve in a way that brings honour to You. Help me to show Your love to those You have called me to with a pure motivation.
Written by Shelley Witt
Thanks Shelley, I am struck by a new insight on grace – giving to those who can never repay us. Not only do we not receive the punishment we deserve from God, but we receive blessing beyond what we can repay. I pray that in Gods strength I can do this for the ones he puts on my heart, with joy.