November 26, 2009
The Guest List
Sharon Sloan, She Speaks Graduate
"Then Jesus said to his host, ‘When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors…But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.'"
Luke 14:12-14 (NIV)
My husband and I were on the "B List" for the wedding. Honestly, we were excited to be on the guest list at all, so being "B List" guests did not insult us. Someone we watched grow up was now getting married. Their parents were prominent in the local community and several hundred people could have easily been on the guest list for their child's wedding. We were honored by the invitation.
Creating guest lists can be difficult. Today's key verse from Luke 14 teaches godly guest list etiquette. Jesus tells us that when we have a banquet to "invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind." As a woman who enjoys hosting gatherings and birthday parties for my children, guest lists are something sacred to me. They have become an offering to the Lord. Jesus says to look beyond the obvious guests on your list, such as family and close friends, and reach out to the downtrodden.
While there may not be those who are physically crippled, lame or blind in our lives, there are those who are hurting, who feel unwanted and unworthy of an invitation.
When my children and I make their party guest lists together, we prayerfully ask the Lord to put those on our hearts who would be blessed by receiving an invitation. Perhaps a friend who is not financially able to host birthday parties themselves. Or someone who is dealing with paralyzing emotional pain. Maybe someone whose parents are going through a divorce. Perhaps a friend who is shy and tends to be socially isolated. Or the one who has rough edges, is not easy to be around and doesn't see God's loving acceptance of them. The poor, the lame, the crippled and the blind.
Truth is, without Jesus and His redemptive love, we are all "the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind." Even in Christian circles, we can feel like the outcast or the unwanted guest. We've all experienced that "I wasn't invited" feeling. An invitation speaks of acceptance, inclusion, care, love, worth and friendship. God's Word tells us to extend invitations to unassuming guests.
The Lord of Hosts beckons us to come to His wedding banquet. As we unfold and accept His invitation, we are seated at the table of the King. Just as we are chosen by God to be guests of honor at His party, let's select unlikely guests and place them at the top of our own guest lists. You are honoring God by inviting the poor, lame, crippled and blind. "He who oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God" (Proverbs 14:31, NIV). And to add to the joy of honoring God, He has promised us that "you will be blessed…you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous" (Luke 14:14, NIV).
Dear God, thank You that You have invited us to come and dine at the King's table. May we honor You with our hearts as we invite the poor, lame, crippled and blind to our own banquets. As we reach out to the unlikely guests in our lives, may Your perfect love fill their hearts with acceptance and joy. Give us the grace to be Your hostess on earth, and bring glory to Your name. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Pray about starting a Gather and Grow Group
Love Your Neighbor as Yourself by Mary Lance Sisk
Click here for Tips for Friendship Gatherings
Read Luke 14 and ask the Lord to speak to your heart through these scriptures.
Prayerfully invite some unlikely guests to your next gathering - perhaps to your Thanksgiving table today, or to an upcoming Christmas party.
Do I extend invitations to unlikely guests, such as the outcasts or the hurting people around me?
Am I teaching my children to invite the poor, lame, crippled and blind to their parties as well?
Luke 14:23, "Then the master told his servant, 'Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full.'" (NIV)
Hebrews 13:2, "Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it." (NIV)
Jeremiah 52:33, "So Jehoiachin put aside his prison clothes and for the rest of his life ate regularly at the king's table." (NIV)
© 2009 by Sharon Sloan. All rights reserved.
Proverbs 31 Ministries
616-G Matthews-Mint Hill Road
Matthews, NC 28105