When a political candidate throws a banquet at a posh hotel in Dallas, guess who gets invited? Of course, multimillionaires. This is how the system works. The rich and powerful get invited. They write big checks, and then, if their candidate wins, they get to have influence and guard their business and ideological interests. It’s fifty-fifty. This is the political game, but I find I can play this same game when it comes to giving invitations to my personal dinner parties.
It’s easy for Mary and me to invite our close friends to eat with us. Why? Because we know they will in turn invite us. The same is true when I eat lunch at a restaurant with a close friend. It’s easy for me to grab the tab. At the next lunch, he will pay and we will be even. What’s hard to get is that Jesus doesn’t play this fifty-fifty game. Look what He had to say to an influential leader who invited Him to a Sabbath dinner party in His home.
“Then Jesus said to the one who had invited Him, ‘Whenever you give a dinner or supper, don’t call your friends, your relatives, or your rich neighbors. They in turn will invite you, and you will have your repayment. But whenever you have a banquet, call the beggars, the cripples, the lame, and the blind. Then you will be blessed because they can’t repay. You will be rewarded in the resurrection of the righteous.’” Luke 14:12-14
If I’m going to follow Jesus, I need to send out dinner invitations like He does. And when I’ve obeyed His command to forget about fifty-fifty, I’ve found that I usually don’t have to wait to be rewarded in heaven. Often those who I would think have nothing that I can use give me their stories, their unconditional love, and their insight into what’s real and lasting.
LORD, destroy my internal passion for fifty-fifty when it comes to relationships. Help me realize that none of us would be invited to Your table if the purpose of the meal was for those invited to give to You something that You need. Help me remember and communicate to others that only those who realize that they have nothing to give get to sit at Your table.
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