Love for the outcasts

JESUS SPEAKING

Then he also said to him who invited him, “When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid.  But when you give a feast invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just” (Luke 14: 12-14.)

INSPIRED THOUGHTS

Communal eating was a central part of the Jewish culture.  They ate from the same bowls, from the same cups, and from the same loaf of bread.  They guarded themselves against eating with sinners, because it was believed that by sharing food, one man’s sin could pass to another man; as a result the sinners, the destitute, the poor, the sick and the lame became untouchables. Those who were most in need of food and shelter were the first to be denied access to such things.  The well-off made certain to invite only people they considered to be morally righteous enough to share a meal with.  A simple dinner invite in the Jewish culture became more of an award ceremony, where the guests were honored.  It was customary to return the honor by inviting the inviter to a meal (they received a reward for their love.)  The ultimate form of love is the kind that demands nothing in return.  True Godly love is about giving and not receiving.  God rewards selfless love; this world rewards every other kind of love.  How many people do you know today, who, if you began to treat them poorly, would return kindness for your evil?  Not many; their love is conditioned upon your love; their good treatment and kindness is a repayment for yours.  The world is filled with this kind of conditional love, but Jesus has commanded his followers to step outside the boundaries of worldly love, and step in to the unconditional love of God.  He has commanded every believer to show kindness to the outcasts, and love to those who have been overlooked.

There are many wealthy people that live in Southern California.  Many coastal mountainsides are decorated with giant exotic homes owned by the social elite; Doctors, lawyers, movie stars, surgeons, etc.  The only thing that exceeds the beauty of the outside of such a home, is its inside (a place most of us will never see.)  Many collect fine art; paintings worth more than a year’s wages are hung on the walls, and sculptures from centuries long since passed, rest on marble pedestals in pristine places.  There are closets filled with custom tailored clothing that never touches the inside of a washer and dryer.  The carpets aren’t just carpets, but works of art made out of thread.  These people, like most people, surround themselves with valuable things; things that make them feel more extraordinary.  People often use other people, just like possessions.  They enjoy surrounding themselves with those who are valuable and give them worth.  They want to be friends with the good looking, the well-to-do, the young, and the popular.  They show kindness and love, but only for those they deem worthy.  They have the world in them, and even though they might consider handing 5 dollars to a beggar, the idea of taking them home for dinner is just too much; the thought of surrounding themselves with those who carry no worldly value gives them a bad feeling, because there is no profit in it for them.

Who sits at your dinner table?  Who do you share your meals with?  Have you opened your home and your life up to the destitute, to the lame, to the poor?  Have you been surrounding yourself with only those who make you feel good, or have you decided to show the unconditional love of God?  All around you are people who have never seen the kind of love you as a believer can give; the kind of love that asks for nothing in return, and comes from a giving heart.  Take a beggar out to lunch and make friends with an outcast.  Be kind to those who cannot return your kindness, and God who is watching will be pleased.  Love with God’s heart and in the eternal kingdom that is yet to come, your reward will be immeasurable.

“Lord heavenly Father, we come before You and we ask that You give us opportunities to love the outcasts, and to give to those who have nothing.  Help us to rejoice in surrounding ourselves with the needy, and with those the world has overlooked and stepped on.  Give us Your heart, and use us to love unconditionally, that the world may take notice of our actions and see something special.  Use us to make Your presence known in a world full of darkness and selfishness.  We love You Father, we praise You, and we thank You, and we ask and pray all of these things, in Jesus Christ’s name.  Amen.”  God bless all of you.


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