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.” – Lk. 14:13-14 NIV
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Today’s Devotional is a sequel to the one titled “Be Humble”, where Jesus Christ had just given a parable to support his teaching that the one that does not want to be embarrassed must remain humble, especially when invited for a public ceremony. The one who is so embarrassed should not blame those who embarrassed him/her but blame self for over-rating his/her relevance.
He also had an advise for the one who is hosting celebrations to draw up a guest list not just because they are friends, brothers or sisters, relatives, or rich neighbors as these are people who are in a position to reciprocate the gesture, and such would have been rewarded once they reciprocate the gesture, as against a situation where the invitees are those who are most unlikely to return the favour. Amongst the people in this group are the poor, crippled, lame and blind, as caring for these group of people comes with the assured blessing of Jehovah since they are not immediately positioned to reciprocate such favours.
The none use of the word “only” by Jesus Christ indicates that he is not against the invitation of the members of the earlier group who are in a position to reciprocate the good gestures of the host but the need for such a host to include in the guest list, those who belong to the latter group, if such intends to be blessed by Jehovah for such actions.
There is no doubt that men expect to be rewarded in one form or the other for all their good deeds and there is hardly anyone who does not have such expectations, but most times these expectations are not met and the one who has been involved in such good deeds is left frustrated. It gets so bad sometimes that the one who is so frustrated gets discouraged from continuing with those acts that are classified as good or worse still, begins to discredit the scriptures that advise and encourage doing such good acts with promises of being rewarded. This will not only be a wrong decision but one that can comeback to haunt such a person because really, one can only reap what was sown and the one who has not sown should expect nothing or at best should expect to harvest weeds and thorns – Gal. 6:7.
Indeed, not been rewarded for such good deeds may be due to the act of ingratitude which seems to be rampant amongst men, even in their relationship with Jehovah, or a case of sharing the experience of people who have chosen not to continue doing good since expectations from such gestures done earlier were not met, but Jesus Christ in the foundation scripture for today’s Devotional reveals a major reason why the Word of Jehovah with regards to such rewards are not fulfilled, which is the targeting of the wrong people as recipients of such gestures. The first group of people may or may not choose to appreciate the gesture of the host and so the expected reward from such sources remains very much subjective, but favours done to the latter group carry the promise of Jehovah for reward and He does not fail in His promises. Although the description of the members of this group as poor, crippled, lame and blind can be interpreted literarily as stated by Jesus Christ, but it is more likely to have figurative meaning. Jesus could have also been referring to the spiritually poor, crippled, lame and blind, with the message that they be fed with the food of the spirit, that will help to nourish their soul, an act that will be in tune with his teachings (Jn. 6:27), and instructions to his disciples to go preach the gospel all over the world – Mk. 16:15. His clarification with regards to the reason for his coming also supports this possibility when he stated that his coming was not for the healthy, but for the sick and the poor – Lk. 5:32; Mk. 2:17. These are the people who are of major interest to Jesus and his father and just as he told the Apostle Peter on three occasions, all those who love him will feed his sheep – Jn. 21:15-17.
Martha was more concerned with the food of the flesh, which without doubt is very important but which Jesus Christ described as not as important as the choice that Mary made, and which must not be taken from her – Lk. 10:38-42.
Arrange banquets where not just food of the flesh will be available, but also the bread of life (Jn. 6:35), which is the Word and invite not just all those your Christian brothers and sisters but all those who may be spiritually poor, blind, deaf, lame and all those who do not seem to have spiritual relationship with you or will be able to contribute physically and financially to that gigantic church projects – Lk. 14:23-24. You will be doing them much good if you save them from dying of hunger but you will have done not only them, but yourself a lot of good if you can also save their soul. It may be nice to make them physically healthy but it is best to make them spiritually healthy. That should be your goal when you are hosting all those Christian programs. There is no doubt that Jehovah will not hesitate to reward you accordingly. May such be your testimony in Jesus name. Amen.