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; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. 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.”
Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.
Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.” And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
When signing off from her morning message and prayer, Robin Roberts says, “Have a blessed day, and be a blessing.” When she says this, it reminds me that the power of Jesus will put me in the right situations to bless the lives of others. It also provides hope that Jesus will place someone in my path to deliver a blessing when I need it most. At this moment, I feel that the day ahead of me is magical with limitless possibilities.
In Luke 14:12-14, Jesus explains to the dinner hosts and guests that it’s a blessing to entertain family and friends who can repay you for your generosity, but the true blessing is to invite those who may not be able to repay the effort in any way. This is considered righteous and rewarded in Heaven. God sent His son to show us what living with a kind and generous heart looks like. He also shows us that he will put people in the right place at the right time to help us when we are in need. Jesus lives out his words in Luke 19, where Jesus dines with a sinner.
In Jesus’ day, tax collectors were considered sinners above sinners due to their corruption and taking advantage of others to line their own pockets. Zacchaeus, a tax collector, hears Jesus is coming to town and climbs a tree to get a better look at the Messiah. When Jesus notices him, he asks Zacchaeus to invite him to his house, which Zacchaeus gladly obliges. The people were shocked and muttered their dismay amongst themselves. Why would Jesus choose him to spend time with? He is a sinner and a corrupt man! Jesus’ compassion toward Zacchaeus changed him wholeheartedly, and he promised to pay back all the people he cheated and give away half his belongings to the poor. Zacchaeus changed his ways forever.
One meal, one conversation, one person showing compassion to another, radically changed not only Zacchaeus’ life, but the lives he impacted, past and present. How powerful a moment can be!
Do you remember a time when you were in the right place at the right time to provide a blessing to someone in need? Or do you remember when the roles were reversed and someone blessed you in a way that you knew God’s hand was right there leading the way? Jesus reminds us through this passage that the earthly rewards remain here on Earth, and following Jesus’ heart will bring righteousness and rewards in Heaven.
In God’s Kingdom, all people are created equally. Examine the relationships in your life. Who can you invite to your table, figuratively or literally, to bless and show compassion and kindness as Jesus displayed? How can you be a blessing to others in your life?