The Super Bowl will be played this Sunday evening. For sports fans/football fans it is a huge draw! Yet, even, for non-sports fans it’s a chance to get together and party. What’s not to love about a party?! We gather in a decorative and clean home. We eat, we talk, we play games…in this case we watch the big game (most of us more interested in the multi-million dollar commercials aired!). We take turns hosting these parties, but typically we invite, pretty much, the same crowd. That is, we invite people to our parties who have invited us to their parties. That’s how the ‘party game’ is played. The question is: Why don’t we invite people to our parties who can’t invite us to a party? Why don’t we throw parties for those who don’t have parties…who never get invited to parties? That’s what Jesus told his followers to do!
In Luke 14:12-14 we read, “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.’” Jesus said it, we believe it, that settles it! Right!?! But we never do it… okay I never do it, and I’m not aware of other Christ-followers throwing such parties. The question is, why not?
Recently, a friend showed me a passage in a book that blew him away. It was written by two men who made themselves homeless in an attempt to understand that social situation. They were panhandling near an expensive restaurant where an elegant dinner party was being held. As they hungrily stared in at the feast, one of the guests noticed them, smiled, and held out his glass as if to toast them. They were taken back by his brazen lack of concern. I guess, to his credit, he didn’t just look away, pretend he hadn’t seen them, and wait for them to disappear. That’s what many people do. But why didn’t he invite them in…or take them some of the feast…or, at least, go give them a few bucks so they could get something to eat?
Why aren’t we more proactive about helping those in need? We know they’re out there! Let me hasten to add that I am not a part of the ‘Blame America first’ crowd. I don’t feel guilty for our high standard of living. I am grateful to God for the rich blessings we enjoy. So I’m not dumping on American believers just because we have more than we need! But Jesus did say, “…from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” (Luke 12:48) God expects his children to be channels of his blessings, not reservoirs of those good things. Our heavenly Father wants his kids to be genuinely engaged with people in need. Jesus even told us to invite them to our Super Bowl parties! But we don’t do it…why not?
Because it’s hard. It is time consuming. And poverty never seems to go away! Jesus admitted, “The poor you will have with you always.” (John 12:8) It is hard work to truly care for those in need. Kudos to our young adults for putting together ‘blessing bags’ for those in need in our community! There are still a bunch of them in the foyer just waiting to be taken and handed out to those in need. Or we can support a child in a ‘third-world’ country…or we can give more to missions…or there’s still time to add some names to your Super Bowl party invite list! J Let’s do the ‘hard-work’ of helping those in need! Jesus told us to do it. (Matthew 25:31-46)