Jesus’ parable in Luke 14:12-14 goes to say:
“Then Jesus said to him who invited Him, “When you have a dinner or supper, do not ask your friends, or your brothers, or relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you are repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”
In the verses that precede this, Jesus said that when going to a feast, one should sit at the least important seat until the head of the supper sees you as someone he likes and invites you to a higher place.
Was Jesus playing semantics here? Was He making up things? Or was He saying things that are just too hard for us to understand? There’s one school of thought that says: until Jesus had been resurrected on the cross, He was still teaching both grace and the law. And this parable just seems too hard to obey. Imagine having a feast and not inviting any your of relatives, your brothers or sisters, your friends, the rich, the people that you know; but instead going out into the streets inviting the poor, the sick, the maimed, the homeless and all those sorts of people that you don’t know and cannot repay you.
Jesus is very big on mercy and compassion. If we were to see this parable in its true light, this is almost a parable reflecting what Jesus Christ did for us. We were poor, we were blind, we were lost in sin when He came and died for us.
We’ve been invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb. We’ve been invited into a relationship with the King of Kings. And truly there’s nothing we can do in return. We’ve been invited into a lovely relationship with the Creator of the universe. Sometimes, we look at a parable like this and we say that this is all too hard. We can’t have a party and invite people that we don’t know. “How would my life look?” we ask ourselves, “if all I did was give party to strangers? How would I climb the social ladders in our society? How would I grow in influence? How would I be looked upon by my friends and my relatives if all I did was mix with the poor, the maimed, the homeless and the broken hearted? What would become of me?”
I can tell you, three to four times I sat with homeless people and the Spirit of Jesus entered these men. And three or four times they went into a trance and Jesus spoke to me face to face. I’ve only had Jesus directly speak to me four times; and each time, I was with a homeless person, sharing dinner. I’d say something and Jesus responded through the homeless person. I’d comment, he’d comment. One conversation went for about half an hour. They were memorable moments. People say all the time, “Would you like to meet Jesus on earth? I’d love to meet Jesus on earth.”
I’ve sat with Christians in churches for many years but I’ve never had Jesus speak through anyone for ten minutes. I’ve mixed with the homeless a hundred times and Jesus spoke through them four times.
On many occasions, Jesus spoke through me to other people for ten or twenty minutes with the gift of prophecy. Sometimes in these occasions, I just let Jesus come right into me, fully possessing my body and I just began to talk Jesus’ words which I didn’t form in my own mind.
My experience with homeless people has been tremendous when it comes to fellowshipping with Jesus. Why is it so hard for us to look at this? Imagine having a 21st birthday party and going down to a homeless shelter, inviting five of them to your gathering, giving them a good table and showing them a good time.
You know, it would be pretty hard just to pick up some homeless people and get them all prepared to go to a party. You’d have to put some thought into it. The homeless people would probably have to know you. Do you know any homeless people personally? Do you know any sick or maimed people? Do you know anyone in a wheel chair? Do you know any poor people, people who couldn’t afford to give you $20 or $10 back for inviting you to the party?
Jesus is telling us to show compassion and mercy in this life. Give to people who can’t afford to give back to you; give freely and see how you will be blessed.
It’s amazing to discover how passionate some homeless people are about the Jesus I love. There are only a few times in my life that someone I don’t know come up and give me money. At one time, a homeless person gave me $50. The homeless people can hear God. The poor can hear God. The more desperate you are in this life, the more you depend in our God. The more you suffer in this world, the deeper your relationship can be with God. When you’ve got a nice house, clothes, friends, relatives and money, you haven’t got much of a need for a deep and abiding relationship with Jesus Christ. When Jesus isn’t needed for you to get through a week, often He isn’t the central focus of your life. But hang around the poor, the maimed, the homeless and the desperate; they’ve got more of a life that is needful of someone like Jesus. I encourage you.
This isn’t just a parable to listen to and then say, “That was a nice parable.” You can find homeless people at a soup kitchen. You can find them through the Salvation Army. There are poor people in your church. There’s a single mother sitting on your church pew who is having a rough time. There are men and women in your congregation who have too much of the week left, too much of a fortnight left, too much time between pay checks to the next pay check. They have too many days left without money. There are people in your church who are poor. Invite them around for dinner.
You don’t need to have a big party and invite a whole lot of strange poor and sick people. Just invite one. No one jumps into the deep end of the pool and starts to swim straight away. People gradually get into a stream and go out into the deep end until they feel safe, until they can swim. Just start to invite one or two to your parties. You might find it very interesting. I’ve spent time on the streets. I spent six months in a homeless hostel, officially homeless. You’d be surprised how beautiful some homeless people are.
Don’t be scared of inviting them into your house. Don’t be scared of loving the poor. You can’t be infected by a homeless person. The spirit of homelessness is not gonna rub off on you. You’re not gonna lose your prosperity by having a poor person in your house. Go on. I encourage you. Take Jesus and His word. Take the challenge. Reach out with mercy and compassion and touch the broken hearted today.