GIVING GOD’S WAY
Gracious God, You are filled with goodness and grace, and You make all things new. Hallelujah!
Read LUKE 14:12–24
Scripture taken from the THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION, NIV Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“The party to which the original guests were invited was Jesus’ kingdom-movement, his remarkable welcome to all and sundry” (N. T. Wright).
The idea of balanced reciprocity was strong in the days of Jesus. This was a practice of giving goods, hospitality or help to those within your own group, with an expectation that they would give back to you as you had given to them (“so you will be repaid,” 12). This was the context of the hospitality being enjoyed by the guests of the “prominent Pharisee” (1) and the comfortable world that Jesus now disturbs. Remember, he has already healed the man with edema (2–4) and confronted the Pharisees on their attitudes (7–11). Now he risks their wrath by suggesting that their generosity is shallow and selfish. He challenges them to throw a party for those who can’t repay—those outside their group and those who are powerless to offer them anything in return.
Why does he do this? Because that’s what the kingdom of God looks like! If God only gave to those who could give the same in return, then we all would be lost; rather, God’s generosity extends to the man with edema (even on the Sabbath)—to the margins, the outcasts and those who will never sit at the seats of honor in society. God wants his house full, and he will fill his house with people from the streets and alleys, from the roads and the country lanes, with the poor, broken, blind and lame. Though none of these people could ever repay the master in the story, or the God of heaven, his generosity is extended to them anyway, because that’s the heart of the kingdom. Jesus taught that “even ‘sinners’” know how to be good to “those who love them,” but the real mark of the kingdom is in extending generosity to those not like us who can never pay us back (Luke 6:32–36).
This week, be generous to someone with no strings attached and with no expectation of return—and invite his kingdom to come.
Dear Lord, Your generosity has no strings attached. May I give without any thought of return, with any and all glory being given to You.