Just one week before her scheduled wedding date, Sarah’s engagement ended. Despite her sadness and disappointment, she decided not to waste the food she had purchased for her wedding reception. She did, however, decide to change the celebration plans. She took down the gift table and revamped the guest list, inviting the residents of local homeless shelters to the feast.
Jesus upheld this sort of no-strings-attached kindness when speaking to the Pharisees, saying, “When you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed” (Luke 14:13–14). He noted that the blessing would come from God because these guests would not be able to repay the host. Jesus approved of helping people who couldn’t supply charity donations, sparkling conversation, or social connections.
When we consider that Jesus spoke these words as He sat at a meal given by a Pharisee, His message seems provocative and radical. But real love is radical. I’ve heard it said that love is giving to meet the needs of others without expecting anything in return. This is how Jesus has loved each of us. He saw our inner poverty and responded by giving His life for us.
Knowing Christ personally is a journey into His infinite love. All of us are invited to explore “how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ” (Ephesians 3:18).
Dear God, help me to explore the depths of Your love. I want to give to others what You have given to me.
How deep is the Father’s love for us!
As Jesus attends a dinner party hosted by a “prominent Pharisee” (Luke 14:1), He turns our human desire for social recognition into an opportunity to teach His kingdom values: Don’t seek out positions of prominence but exalt others instead (vv. 7–11). Then He turns that lesson into one tailored for His host: Don’t give a party simply to enhance your own economic prospects or to build your reputation in the community. Instead, give lavishly to those who have a genuine need and cannot repay you (vv. 12–14). This aligns with the Lord’s teaching in the Sermon on the Mount: “When you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets” (Matthew 6:2).
What motivates my giving and my social interactions? Do I serve God’s kingdom values of unconditional love and mercy?