I want to share with you something that I struggle with, and I suspect, many of you do too.
If you dress a certain way, look a certain way, speak a certain way, and are generally more like me, then I’m going to be way more inclined to like you and to pursue you.
And this isn’t inherently bad. Part of that is natural and necessary for healthy relationships. You certainly don’t want to pursue someone in marriage who is most unlike you. And best friends are usually best friends because you share something.
On the other hand, if you are reserved, unfriendly, not the greatest looking, then I will struggle to pursue you.
Don’t get me wrong. I will greet you with a smile and exchange some pleasantries, but I probably won’t invite you over for dinner.
However, being inclined towards those who are most like you and most beneficial can be sinful. It can be sinful when I allow that natural inclination to hinder or stop me from loving others unconditionally.
Jesus says that people will know that we are his disciples by the way we love each other. We don’t want to be a place where an atheist can visit and say, “Yes, it all makes sense. You guys love each other because you are all similar: good looking, the same age and interests. Looks just like the high school cafeteria. There’s the good-looking people. There’s the hipsters. Oh, and over there are the elderly… There’s nothing unusual about this gathering of people.”
God’s Word has something to say to our problem.
“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. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind,” (Luke 14:12–13, ESV)
Come again Jesus?
The only people I usually invite for dinner are my friends, loved ones, or someone important. But rather than inviting those who are comfortable, familiar, and beneficial, Jesus calls us to invite those who are the outcasts of society. Those who may not be so pleasant.
Remarkably, Jesus gives a reason for this (seeming) madness.
“and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.” (Luke 14:14)
When we invite those who cannot repay us, we are rewarded with a greater future blessing than the blessing of entertaining advantageous people in the present.
Jesus calls us to bring nobodies into our homes (which is another way to say, bring them intimately into your life) because they cannot benefit you.
And if you were to read further, vv. 14–24 shows that God reaches out to the most unwanted of society.
In 14:15–24, Jesus gives a parable that represents the invitation for people to be apart of God’s family. A man has a huge feast and invites many people, but nobody wants to come. They all have things to do. People to see. Money to make.
Shockingly, God then sends his servants to invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame (v. 21).
God’s house will be full of the unwanted. And that is the basis on which Jesus commands us to reach out to the nobodies.
Main Point of this Luke 14:12–24:
Fill our homes with the unwanted, for God's home will be filled with the unwanted.
Sadly, this does not come naturally for us.
Thank you Jesus that you are not like us!
Take a glance at Jesus’s life.
- He touches the untouchable lepers, restoring them from their shame.
- He hangs out with tax collectors and sleazy company.
- He reaches out to women, unheard of in that day, and treats them like the valuable human beings that they are.
Jesus already did this in his life.
And he did it in our lives.
All of us who have been redeemed were no different. Maybe in particular actions but our hearts were repugnant to him. Nevertheless, he pursued us and loved us despite our brokenness.
Jesus is our model in this, and as Jesus loved us and reached us, we likewise reach those who have sinned against us, those who cannot repay us, and those no one cares about.
As a fellow brother in Christ, I want to exhort Cities Church to do two things in the next two weeks:
1. Intentionally connect with one person or family at Cities church who you are not naturally inclined to connect with. Take them out for coffee, invite them over to your home, or have a play date with your kids. The more disadvantageous they are to you, the better!
2. Intentionally reach out to one person or family where you work, play, or live who is a modern nobody. Someone that may be awkward. Or maybe they are just plain mean. Invite them over, bring them a meal, try to have an intentional conversation with them, and do what you can do follow up. Again, the more disadvantageous they are, the better!
If you pursue those who are most unlike you, you will most certainly feel incompetent, intimidated, and maybe even scared. This is a great opportunity for the Holy Spirit that dwells in you to empower you.
Jesus pursued us, the unwanted, may we likewise, by his Spirit, pursue the unwanted.