Core Values Meal
Lord, in a world where many hunger and thirst, I thank You for my daily bread and drink.
Read Luke 14:1-11
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.
What are your core values? What would the people around you say they are?
Would you accept an invitation to a dinner hosted by someone who hated you? I’d think of a reason to decline. Jesus had preached we should love our enemies; here he practices it by sharing a meal with those who didn’t like him. Reconciliation often begins when we reach out in practical ways to those who are angry with us. The Pharisees weren’t interested in reconciliation with Jesus: they were looking for an opportunity to get him (1). So Jesus takes the initiative by asking the tough question himself, “Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath or not?” (3). He answers by healing the man with swelling, demonstrating that mercy is always the right choice (4,5; see also 10:25-37). But what he’s really doing is using this awkward situation to communicate some core values in the Kingdom of God.
The first core value is compassion. The Pharisees were so concerned about the mechanics of Sabbath law that they were blind to the obvious: there was a needy person in their midst! I wonder if they intentionally seated the invalid near Jesus to instigate a confrontation. Today we’re much more relaxed about the Sabbath, but are we any more compassionate to those with needs in our midst? When our Christian lifestyle is more characterized by enforcing rules than showing compassion, we’ve gained nothing (1 Cor. 13:1-3).
The second core value is humility. The Pharisees jockeyed for the prominent seats (7) but as Jesus’ parable makes clear, God is pleased with those who take the lowest place (11). I’m surprised that Jesus bothered to tell this parable at all. Even though the Pharisees were filled with sin and pride, Jesus believed they could change. That’s good news for all of us.
Which do you need to work on more in your life, compassion or humility? Why? Pray for an opportunity to grow in this area today.
Loving Father, I know there is always room for growth in my life. By Your Spirit, press in on me in the areas I need to focus on.
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