7 Jesus noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table. So he told them a story. 8 He said, “Suppose someone invites you to a wedding feast. Do not take the place of honor. A person more important than you may have been invited. 9 If so, the host who invited both of you will come to you. He will say, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then you will be filled with shame. You will have to take the least important place. 10 But when you are invited, take the lowest place. Then your host will come over to you. He will say, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in front of all the other guests. 11 All those who lift themselves up will be made humble. And those who make themselves humble will be lifted up.” 12 Then Jesus spoke to his host. “Suppose you give a lunch or a dinner,” he said. “Do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, or your relatives, or your rich neighbors. If you do, they may invite you to eat with them. So you will be paid back. 13 But when you give a banquet, invite those who are poor. Also invite those who can’t see or walk. 14 Then you will be blessed. Your guests can’t pay you back. But you will be paid back when those who are right with God rise from the dead.”
In this passage we see Jesus noticing (vs7) the behaviour of those around Him and teaching directly to that behaviour. Jesus observed and challenged the self-interested actions of those at the meal, urging the guests to pursue humility and generosity instead.
If Jesus were to sit down to a meal with us, in our cultural context, what would He observe? What would please Him? What would grieve Him? The self-interested actions might be more subtle, but still there. Would He see us serving and preferring each other, or looking after ourselves? Would He see us hosting or making a meal for those unable to host us? Would He see us inviting into our homes and lives those we do not necessarily have an instant or easy connection with?
Jesus is with us and He does observe our behaviour. The Holy Spirit dwells within us to challenge us and call us up to live a life of love. Not a love we manufacture, but a love that flows out of God’s extravagant and personal love for us. He welcomes us into His family and He calls us to be welcoming people.
God, please help me to keep sight of your love and the big picture. Help me not to underestimate the power of sharing a meal or serving others. Please help me to receive your love and share it freely with others. Amen.
Written by Beth Waugh