Usually when you are invited to a wedding reception, there is a seating plan. You may spend some time before the ceremony wondering, or worrying, who you may be sitting with, but getting to know new people is all part of the experience. But imagine if you sat in the wrong place. If you wrongly assumed your place in the pecking order…
Luke 14:1, 7-14 (CEV)
14 One Sabbath, Jesus was having dinner in the home of an important Pharisee, and everyone was carefully watching Jesus.
How To Be a Guest
7 Jesus saw how the guests had tried to take the best seats. So he told them:
8 When you are invited to a wedding feast, don’t sit in the best place. Someone more important may have been invited. 9 Then the one who invited you will come and say, “Give your place to this other guest!” You will be embarrassed and will have to sit in the worst place.
10 When you are invited to be a guest, go and sit in the worst place. Then the one who invited you may come and say, “My friend, take a better seat!” You will then be honored in front of all the other guests. 11 If you put yourself above others, you will be put down. But if you humble yourself, you will be honoured.
12 Then Jesus said to the man who had invited him:
When you give a dinner or a banquet, don’t invite your friends and family and relatives and rich neighbours. If you do, they will invite you in return, and you will be paid back. 13 When you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. 14 They cannot pay you back. But God will bless you and reward you when his people rise from death.
It was inevitable that this was going to be the gospel reading for this week. This is what the other passages have been building up to. We’re back to pride again. Not necessarily assuming that you’re better than you are, but the danger of assuming that you’re better than some others there.
But Jesus also takes this one step further. He challenges on the people we would invite.
Do we mix with those who are good to be seen with, of some value to us in terms of moving up the ladder, or into a different circle? Do we invite those who will invite us back?
Jesus challenges us to think. Who would get most help sharing our meal with us? Dare we ask those who really need a meal? Those who have no kitchen to cook anything for themselves? Those who have no food in their cupboards? Those who cannot fend for themselves? Those who apparently have little to offer us – but bring such wealth in other ways?
Is Jesus challenging me on the kind of people I mix with? The kind of people I am willing to help? Whether I help only those who can help me in return? Do I stick with my nice safe Christian friends? Only ever talk to those who would agree with me, rather than challenge me?
Who does God invite? Who do I look over?
Who are we inviting to share God’s feast with us?
Who is he asking us to invite?