I don't usually blog on Sundays. I barely have a moment to sit down at all to be honest. But, I have a few minutes before bed time and I wanted to share something I heard from the Lord this morning. And it had nothing to do with the message at church today (which was great, by the way). It was actually an accident on my part.
Have you ever turned to the wrong book or chapter during a sermon and didn't know it? Well... it happened to me today. And for some reason I didn't catch it, because I was too wrapped up in the passage. We were asked to turn to John 14:16. Instead I turned to Luke 14:16 and read this...
Jesus replied with this story: “A man prepared a great feast and sent out many invitations. When the banquet was ready, he sent his servant to tell the guests, ‘Come, the banquet is ready.’ But they all began making excuses. One said, ‘I have just bought a field and must inspect it. Please excuse me.’ Another said, ‘I have just bought five pairs of oxen, and I want to try them out. Please excuse me.’ Another said, ‘I now have a wife, so I can’t come.’
“The servant returned and told his master what they had said. His master was furious and said, ‘Go quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and invite the poor, the crippled, the blind, and the lame.’ After the servant had done this, he reported, ‘There is still room for more.’ So his master said, ‘Go out into the country lanes and behind the hedges and urge anyone you find to come, so that the house will be full. For none of those I first invited will get even the smallest taste of my banquet.’”
It caught my attention enough for me to read a little before this to find out why exactly Jesus shared this story with the people.
Then he turned to his host. “When you put on a luncheon or a banquet,” he said, “don’t invite your friends, brothers, relatives, and rich neighbors. For they will invite you back, and that will be your only reward. Instead, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. Then at the resurrection of the righteous, God will reward you for inviting those who could not repay you.”
This was definitely something I needed to hear today. Being in ministry, sometimes it seems that we are giving all the time and we deserve "one area" in which we don't need to. Most of the time that area is in our friendships. Josh is better at it than me, but I tend to avoid a friendship if I feel it is becoming too "needy" or "clingy." It's sad to even admit that.
But reading this passage this morning reminded me of what it's like to truly serve others and live in humility. Most of my friends don't "need" me. They have great jobs, spouses, family, talents. I would probably need to plan a couple days in advance to schedule myself into their lives. But, Jesus calls us to do the opposite! He says our house should be full of the needy. Not just a party with our dearest and best. He wants us to invite those who are less fortunate, who have obvious disabilities, who can give us nothing in return. And if we are honest, sometimes the only people we surround ourselves with are people who make us look good. Not people who we can bless. The Lord convicted me that I can be serving in a "ministry" and not really ministering.
And I got all that from turning to the wrong book. :)