As you quiet yourself for this brief time, be willing to be open to God in whatever way that may take place.
Luke 14:12-14 (ESV)
12 He said also to the man who had invited him, “When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid.13 But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”
To God Alone Be Glory
You will be blessed because they cannot repay you. What an interesting, yet bizarre statement. We live in a largely transactional society where true goodwill and true charity can be a rare occurrences. When I worked in the banking world I was fascinated when it came time for us to set our donations to the United Way. In order to get people to donate, the bank dangled a free t-shirt and the opportunity to have a casual Friday for those who participated. What fascinated me more when we received the donation form, there was an option to either donate without receiving the t-shirt or casual day. But we all (myself included) selected the option to donate and get the shirt and participate in casual day. How do I know we all selected the option to donate and get the t-shirt? WE ALL WORE THE T-SHIRT ON CASUAL DAY! Did we give to the United Way to help whatever charities they supported? Sure. But were we also all inspired to give to the United Way because we received something in return for our donation? It certainly looked like it to me.
There is a blessedness that comes from having a firm perspective on the Gospel. The Gospel is a message of blessing for those who cannot do for themselves, no way to be included, no way to even get to the banquet. The Gospel is the message that tells us all that there is nothing we can do to repay the invitation we have been extended by God. We just receive the invitation. And what was God’s “incentive” (if we can call it that) for this Gospel invitation? A cross. An executioner’s cross. On a Friday that wasn’t very casual.
As we think about the invitation we have been extended by Christ, and as we think about what that invitation cost God, how then do we allow both those aspects to give us a Gospel perspective? How are we living? When we do things that benefit others, are we more interested in how it makes us feel or the appearance of humility and selflessness that others may have of us? Are we using our gifts to benefit others are we in some way attempting to hold leverage over that person for some time in the future when we might need them for a favor? Or are we doing it for the sake of the Gospel—knowing that just as Jesus gave us his life for purely our benefit of salvation and fellowship with God—therefore we are generous in our giving and service and obedience so that others may benefit in the knowledge that what has been done for them is for their benefit alone, with the only hope being, of course, that God is glorified?
To God alone, be all glory! Amen
Go with God!