Luke 14:12-14 (MSG) – “Then he turned to the host. “The next time you put on a dinner, don’t just invite your friends and family and rich neighbors, the kind of people who will return the favor. Invite some people who never get invited out, the misfits from the wrong side of the tracks. You’ll be—and experience—a blessing. They won’t be able to return the favor, but the favor will be returned—oh, how it will be returned!—at the resurrection of God’s people.”
What a humbling word from our Lord. Think about the last party you threw. Who did you invite? Was it those who never get invited? Was it those who spend their life on the margins? Was it the people in your life that you find most difficult to love? Or was it your family and closest friends?
Pastor C.J. preached a sermon to us in our Citizens Distinctives Series that addressed Jesus’ calling on all believers to not simply serve the poor, or feed the poor, but to feast with the poor. This is the clear exhortation in Luke 14. It falls in line with a theme seen throughout both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible that true worship of God always involves seeking justice for the poor and the oppressed.
James 2:1-6 (ESV) – “My brothers, show no partiality as you hold the faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Lord of glory. For if a man wearing a gold ring and fine clothing comes into your assembly, and a poor man in shabby clothing also comes in, and if you pay attention to the one who wears the fine clothing and say, “You sit here in a good place,” while you say to the poor man, “You stand over there,” or, “Sit down at my feet,” have you not then made distinctions among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts? Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? But you have dishonored the poor man.
As a church family, we are fiercely committed to the marginalized, the oppressed, the broken. We do not just tolerate them. We don’t have a program made just for them. We need them. We have less of Jesus without them. We want to dine with The Lord, at His feast. And if we are indeed at Jesus’ feast, we will find ourselves sat honorably next to those whom might be cast out in the world, but are first in the kingdom. We all have a long way to go. But Jesus graciously invites each of us to take our next step. We hope this guide will help you to take yours.