Jesus offers a parable:


   “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return¹, and repayment come to you. But when you give a reception, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, since they do not have the means to repay you; for you will be repaid² at the resurrection of the righteous.”

–Matthew 14:12-14 (NASB)


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   First, note this appears to be an in-your-face use of hyperbole which we will examine in our next post.

   Now let’s look at what’s actually being said which runs a bit counter to our conception of prudent behavior: make friends with peers and neighbors and expect some payoff with practical returns. Be nice, extend yourself a bit, and be happy. A nice practical, everyday philosophy.

   With earthly fulfillment.

   Jesus is saying, or implying, that God expects something more: Doing something that may seem wasteful and foolish. Not a wise expending of one’s resources. Something that goes against our grain. Something that interrupts our calendared expectations.

   What’s going on here?

   Let me go further:

   (1)  God is aware of our–for whatever reason–self-serving expectations.

   (2)  But God expects more than that. Why?

   (3)  Something more exists that’s beyond life on Earth.

   (4)  And Earth humans are part of that.

   (4)  And further, God is in charge of of that “existence” and is in control of it.


   ¹ “Normal” plans and expectations are not ipso facto wrong; they’re just an example of short-range planning.

   ² According to God and the Bible (through Jesus), there is eventual, and more significant, repayment for on-Earth human behavior.