September 29 Reading
- Zechariah 10-12
- Psalm 126
- Luke 14
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 14:13-14 NIV
When Jesus was on earth he wasn’t hanging out with the top 1%. He was spending time with the poor, the sick, the criminals, and outcasts. These are the people he came to reach and to serve.
And how about me? Who do I hang out with? 99% of the time I am spending time with people in my socioeconomic group. Our houses are similar. We might differ on politics, religion and background, but for the most part we are pretty similar.
Do I hang out with the poor? No. And the occasional “service project” at the food pantry or homeless shelter doesn’t count. Have I ever sat down with someone who is truly poor with my intention being to make a friend? No. Do I put myself in situations to go deep with someone who is really down and out, with my sole purpose being to love them? No again. Do I view the homeless man sitting on the park bench as my equal? Sadly, no. I might feel compelled to give him a few dollars or buy him lunch, but I’ve never had the desire to really get to know him. To learn from him. To love him as a brother.
Jesus considers me and that homeless man equals.
Jesus has asked me to love that man. To reach out to him. To invite him to a banquet.
This is a hard one to pick an action for, though the opportunities are great. Honestly it is a little scary for me. When I see a homeless person on the street my first reaction is to move away, mainly out of fear. Or to serve behind the scenes, without really getting to know the people I’m serving.
But from this verse, I think Jesus is asking for more than just surface level service. He is telling me to treat the poor as a peer and to include them.
One action we are taking this evening is to attend the Compassion Experience with my children, to open our eyes and start a dialog about how people live around the world.
Lord, please open my eyes to the sick and poor around me. Show me who you want me to connect with and how. Please take away any fear that stands in my way. Fill me with your love for the sick, poor and hurting and help me to connect with them in a real way.