Luke 14: 1-14
One Sabbath day Jesus went to eat dinner in the home of a leader of the Pharisees, and the people were watching him closely. There was a man there whose arms and legs were swollen. Jesus asked the Pharisees and experts in religious law, “Is it permitted in the law to heal people on the Sabbath day, or not?” When they refused to answer, Jesus touched the sick man and healed him and sent him away. Then he turned to them and said, “Which of you doesn’t work on the Sabbath? If your son or your cow falls into a pit, don’t you rush to get him out?” Again they could not answer.
When Jesus noticed that all who had come to the dinner were trying to sit in the seats of honor near the head of the table, he gave them this advice: “When you are invited to a wedding feast, don’t sit in the seat of honor. What if someone who is more distinguished than you has also been invited? The host will come and say, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then you will be embarrassed, and you will have to take whatever seat is left at the foot of the table!
“Instead, take the lowest place at the foot of the table. Then when your host sees you, he will come and say, ‘Friend, we have a better place for you!’ Then you will be honored in front of all the other guests. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Then he turned to his host. “When you put on a luncheon or a banquet,” he said, “don’t invite your friends, brothers, relatives, and rich neighbors. For they will invite you back, and that will be your only reward. Instead, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. Then at the resurrection of the righteous, God will reward you for inviting those who could not repay you.”
What is our motivation, what drives our actions? Is it a desire to please God? Is it a desire to demonstrate a love for Him and obedience to His commands? Or is there an internal desire to be seen and recognized for ourselves, who we are and what we are doing? Is there a desire to be affirmed as someone of importance, someone looked up to?
We are given some suggestions to live by that include taking the lesser place and giving without expecting a return on our effort. The first is an action taken out of true humility. It is an expression of courtesy, consideration, preferring others above self. It demonstrates an outward focus rather than an inward focus of self-absorption. The second action is motivated by a genuine love for those who have less than we, those who can benefit from our actions. This example of the luncheon and who to invite is driven by a desire to bless others without expecting a return on the investment of time and effort. True giving expects no gain on our part, is done from a heart of compassion and concern for the other without obligation on the part of the recipient.
Jesus states we will be blessed; by God and not immediately, at the resurrection of the righteous. These are character attributes of an individual whose sole purpose in life is to please God and obey His commands. They are not the attributes of a self-absorbed individual looking for personal gain. Where is our focus? What is our desire? What drives our actions? Is it love for our Creator, a love that gives and desires to please through obedience?