Article: Invite some people who never get invited out! | Jacob Varghese
Much of our life involves the expectation of repayment for the things we do — I will do this for you, and you will do something for me. Some relationships are only built on doing things for each other. However, Jesus wants us to follow Him into a more redemptive purpose in our relationships. He challenges us to bless, benefit, and befriend those who cannot repay us for our interest, concern, and kindness. That is only possible through radical love.
Love is an ever-present theme in human life and experience. Love has many names and faces. Different types of love are ascribed to different kinds of relationships and different seasons of life. What, then, is radical love, amongst all of love’s forms and definitions? The term radical is used only to describe something that is whole, complete, and thorough. Some might argue that there is nothing as radical love. For our sake of understanding let me put it this way as Radical love is unconditional love. Unconditional love is considered to be the pinnacle of love. This can only be found in God. This may be understood as “too forgiving” or “too accepting.”
Radical love is not, however does not mean staying silent and still when change is necessary. God’s radical love requires our kind treatment of those who mistreat us. God’s radical love extends to all people, even to those who are ungrateful and evil. We as His children, our love should reflect His love. Radical love requires responding to wrongs with positive approach toward the wrongdoer, not with retaliation. Radical love requires treating others as we wish to be treated and it exceeds the world’s standards of love. It shows the nature of God to people who desperately need Him.
Luke 14:13 says “When you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind.” Jesus upheld this sort of no-strings attached kindness when speaking to the Pharisees, saying, “When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor your rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid instead invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind and you will be blessed.” You will be blessed because they cannot repay you! What an amazing thing for Jesus to say! He noted that the blessing would come from God because these guests would not be able to repay the host. Jesus approved of helping people who couldn’t supply charity donations, sparkling conversation or social connections. When we consider that Jesus spoke these words as He sat at a meal given by a Pharisee, His message seems provocative and radical. But real love is radical.
Hence, this is not just a stand-alone prohibition! It has context. Remember, Jesus has observed the motives of both host and guests; the teaching springs from this scene! Apparently, the host invited guests to this feast with selfish expectation of his own future social advantage. That’s the meaning of the phrase, “lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid.” Jesus Christ did not, indeed, intend to condemn outright all family or social gatherings of a festive character. He had already sanctioned these by his own presence.
The main point that Jesus is making in this passage is that our giving or helping should not be materially based. If our motivation for doing something good for others is based on what we can get, then it is not the right motivation. If we help someone, and that person gives something back out of thankfulness, it is not a bad thing. But our hearts should be ready to help those who cannot help themselves or who need help, and our greatest reward is that of glorifying God who has given us the best help of all- salvation that we cannot achieve on our own. We show we are His children when we show love to others.
I think the most radical aspect of Jesus’ spiritual teachings is His emphasis on consciousness rather than action. The same is true here. If you invite people to dinner to impress them with your home, or to fulfill a social obligation, or to create a sense of social obligation in them, so that they will in return invite you to their homes, you may achieve those goals. But there will be no spiritual benefit, because there has been no spiritual intention. But if you invite to dinner people who are afflicted—”the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind,”— they will not be able to return the invitation. Therefore, because your intention was spiritual, your reward will also be spiritual. Your “repayment” will come from Spirit, and will contribute to the new consciousness that is the “kingdom of heaven.”
I have heard it being said that love is giving to meet the needs of others without expecting anything in return. This is how Jesus has loved each of us. He saw our inner poverty and responded by giving His life for us. Knowing Christ personally is a journey into His infinite love. All of us are invited to explore “how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ”