Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.Luke 14:12-14
Jesus next turns to instruct the host of the dinner party. There was a practice held by the Pharisees and other religious leaders. They liked to have a big feast on the Sabbath Day to show how much they respected God’s word. The problem is God knew their motivation.
One man would hold a feast one week, and then one friend would hold a feast the next. Then, another would hold the feast the next week. They were inviting one another and trying to “one-up” the previous host’s dinner party in size and extravagance. They were trying to appear righteous before other men all the while just enjoying a big feast with friends.
Now, Jesus does not forbid having a meal with friends, but He does speak to the heart of the motivation behind the meal. If we are saying that we are honoring God in what we do then we need to act like Jesus. We need to invite those to the meal that cannot pay us back the next week with a meal in kind. This is true charity.
These Pharisees were making a show of charity but they were not really making any sacrifice because their friends would pay them back the next week. True charity involves sacrifice.
Jesus concludes His teaching with a statement about the resurrection that we should not ignore. Consider Jesus’ teaching in Matthew’s gospel:
Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.Matthew 25:34-40
Jesus is not saying that we earn our eternal home by doing good and charitable deeds but He is stating that God recognizes these works as good. And that is what we need to be interested in!
These men were more concerned about what other men thought rather than what God thought. Jesus is teaching that man’s opinion of our works does not matter. God’s opinion is all that matters.
Now, I have heard taught that we don’t need to worry about doing good works in order to go to heaven. Well, that is certainly true, but hasn’t God commanded us to bear fruit? Why, in our efforts to not sound Arminian or Calvinist, do we neglect to that for which we have been called to new life to do?
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” – Ephesians 2:10
Therefore, let us honor God in thankfulness. Have a feast, invite friends, but do not neglect to invite those who cannot return the favor or even help themselves. Remember, we were without strength when Christ died for us (Romans 5:6). Let us act accordingly.