Inviting the Needy

During the last Christmas we gathered with family, and perhaps friends, to celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus. Such a time is to be full of joy in the light that He is bringing into the world. However, we might be ignoring His instruction on whom should see His light at our dinner tables.

Jesus was a guest at a Sabbath dinner held by a ruler of the Pharisees. A man with dropsy entered the dinner and went to Jesus for healing. Of course, Jesus healed him but the Pharisees did not care for that needy man. They were more interested in finding an honorable place at the table, enjoying a dinner with friends of the upper crust, and looking forward to inviting these friends to their homes. It was clear to Jesus that these men were proud of their place in Jewish society and looked down upon the financially poor and physically broken. Poor and handicapped people were just not their kind, and not worth their time at a dinner.

Our Lord spoke to these haughty men and instructed them to have feasts that include people whom they knew were poor or handicapped in some way. These words are for us, and are worth meditating on.

Surely our Lord is not forbidding us to have wonderful holiday dinners with family and friends. But He is telling us that forgetting to invite needy people to our homes is wrong. Except by the grace of our Lord, we could be poor or greatly afflicted. Just as our Lord has been gracious to us, He calls us to be gracious to those who are struggling in some way. Our homes are places of love and care for those who suffer in some way.

So, let us invite to our homes fellow Christians who are poor or struggling with bodily afflictions. Also, let us invite neighbors and others we rub shoulders with, who are not only broken physically but are also broken spiritually. Such care for needy people takes place with these two attitudes: being humble before all people and being content with not receiving return gifts from needy people.

When all is said and done, our Lord promises to bless us at the resurrection and eternally provide for us in the New Heavens and New Earth. When we feast there, we may well see some of those needy people whom we invited to our homes. After all, we are all needy people whom Jesus invited to His table.

{ You can read this story in Luke 14.1-24. }