Lord God, may I begin to love others today with the same gracious love with which You love me.
Read Luke 14:12-24
 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.  But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind,  and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”  When one of those at the table with him heard this, he said to Jesus, “Blessed is the one who will eat at the feast in the kingdom of God.”  Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests.  At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’  “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’  “Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’  “Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’  “The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’  “‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’  “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full.  I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.'” Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhat attitude should we have toward those who have less?
It’s easy to see the actions of others in Bible stories, and we rarely read Scripture “against ourselves.” Let’s do that together today. Who do you spend the most time with? It’s very easy to read the words of Jesus over quickly today without applying them to our own lives. So often we do exactly what Jesus commands us not to do: spend time with those who are like us and who we feel comfortable with. But this is a radical challenge (12-14). Inviting those who cannot repay you or who don’t fit your social network does not come easily. If that challenge is not enough, then the parable of the great banquet is even more challenging (16-24). We have been invited to the banquet, but our lives are so busy with other things that we don’t enter the hall and enjoy what has been prepared for us. We make excuses that are clearly false. Instead, others come and enjoy the benefits of God’s grace. It’s easy to judge people by our standards but God’s invitation is to all. What will we do to make sure that we aren’t too distracted to enjoy what God has for us?
What action could you and your church take so the marginalized in your area know God’s open invitation?
Lord, I know it’s not like You to show favoritism, so help me to treat all Your children the same.