“…invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind.”– Luke 14:13
Christianity is a joy to the true disciple of Christ. However, it is not effortless. Christ-followers must employ faculties rarely called upon before regeneration. There are spiritual exercises imperative to practice daily. Salvation is free, yet personal exertion in sanctification is necessary for holiness. All of these effects prepare us for a life held outside of familiar comforts. We gain boldness to extend invitations to lost strangers.
The Pharisees were known as an elite society practicing reciprocity. It was a mutual exchange of privileges. Guests in this faction were not chosen out of love and compassion, necessarily. They based gatherings upon what they could receive from each other, not what they could give. They only wanted to associate with those who could advance their status. They pursued a self-centered lifestyle while Jesus taught on an others-centered path.
It is natural for anyone to want to gather with the like-minded. We tend to invite only those we feel comfortable around to our gatherings. The people that require less effort to associate with are usually our closest companions. And yet, as a Christian, Jesus displays a much different heart. He sat among the Pharisees that desired to kill Him, and He showed love to the unlovely and compassion toward those that seemed unlovable. Although the only exchange the Savior would receive from them was crucifixion, He remained in their midst. Not for what they could do for Him, but what He was going to do for all!
Christ is the perfect example of loving those who cannot repay us or give us anything in return. He demonstrates a love for human souls that extends beyond personal well-being. This hallmark of the Christian faith demands consistent practice. May it be our heart’s desire that whatever is vital to our Savior, be vital to us.
“We should frequently ponder the words, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” We should think of how very much we do love ourselves, of how much of our activity centers around the care and comfort of self. Then we should try to imagine what it would be like if we showered that love on our neighbors. Then we should do it. Such behavior is not natural; it is supernatural. Only those who have been born again can do it, and then only by allowing Christ to do it through them.”– William MacDonald