Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors . . . But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed.”
Build Others Up
Does Jesus really not want us to have our friends and family over to our homes for dinner? No, Jesus often went to friends’ homes for dinner. And the Bible speaks highly of the early Christians who “broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts” (Acts 2:46). Jesus’ point in saying the words of today’s Bible passage is not to discourage us from hosting our friends and family for dinner. Instead, he is encouraging us to be on the lookout for ways to build other people up.
None of us is naturally inclined to build others up. By nature, we see people as mere tools we can use to build ourselves up. If someone has something that we think can benefit us, such as wealth or a good reputation, we seek to use that person in a way that will make us look better. If, however, someone has nothing that can benefit us, we either ignore that person or tear that person down so that we can look better in comparison.
This, of course, is not the way Jesus wants us to treat others. Nor is it the way he treated us. If Jesus had been looking only for people who could bring him some benefit, he never would have chosen us. We had nothing to offer him. Yet Jesus didn’t just associate with us. He became one of us. He humbled himself for the express purpose of building us up, so that through his life and death for us, we might be exalted with him forever.
Now, as we see how Jesus so selflessly built us up from the nothing we were, we are eager and able to build others up as well. It doesn’t matter who the other person is. All are people for whom Jesus humbled himself. All are people whom we, with God’s help, can seek to build up.
Lord Jesus, lead me to build others up, just as you have done for me. Amen.