Luke 14:12-14 (ESV)
He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”
This is a continuation of the previous two paragraphs. Jesus is still dining at the house of a ruler of the Pharisees. Previously, Jesus healed a man before him who had dropsy and taught a lesson about healing on the Sabbath. Then He told a parable about how they chose the places of honor and used it to teach a lesson about pride. Now He’s extending that lesson to a big banquet.
Their pride doesn’t just dominate where they sit when dining. It also dominates the thinking of the guy at the head of the table – the host. Their banquets are all about social status. They invite the “right” people so that they will, in turn, be invited to the “right” parties.
This time Jesus doesn’t light into the Pharisees. He simply suggests that, “When you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you.”
They need an Ebenezer Scrooge style change of heart.
Ouch; this hits a little too close to home. This kind of thinking is so widespread in America it’s almost comforting to learn we didn’t invent it. Social status pride reaches its pinnacle in Hollywood and Washington.
Yogi Berra mocked this perfectly when he said, “If you don’t go to other people’s funerals, they won’t go to yours.”
We’re all infected with the same disease. I catch myself name-dropping way too often. I suppose there are worse sins, but I doubt there are many uglier ones.
We need an Ebenezer Scrooge style change of heart too. We are just like the Pharisees.
OK, maybe we’re not as bad as the Pharisees, but we’re bad in the same way. America is all about status. We’ve been stewing in this culture so long we don’t even notice how pervasive it is.
Think not? Consider the commercials for cars and trucks. They almost never have anything to do with transporting you (or your things) from point A to point B. They’re all about status.
We need a great awakening.
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