Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Selfless: When Love Becomes Our Only Motivation

"But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed"
(Luke 14:13a).

It was Christmas time.  My family was in a season enjoying the red and green colors of a holiday that involves, trees, gifts, family, and reflections and focus on the coming of Christ.  As we were preparing for our annual Christmas Eve service, I began to sense God speaking to my heart to include and invite someone in our church to be a part of our Christmas Eve tradition.  Oh, it's nothing fancy, but one that I have quite enjoyed over the years, taking me back to my days in high school.  It's simple.  I go home after the service (of course now, I have children, so it's getting them to bed), setting out some wonderful food that I shouldn't be eating, taking out the gifts that have yet to be wrapped (all of them), and sitting down in front of the television to watch It's A Wonderful Life for the upteenth time!

But, there was this man, this quiet man.  He didn't look the same as everyone else.  He kept to himself, and wasn't one for many words, yet God was speaking to me.  I invited him to our home after Christmas Eve service.  He accepted.  He came.  The time we spent together was an education and blessing.  I learned so much about his life, what God had brought him through, what God was teaching him now, and how happy he was just to be alive.  I was blessed by this refreshing approach to so many things that, in the busyness of life, and especially during that season, is so easy to lose sight of.

In Luke 14. Jesus was taking on a cultural attitude that has stubbornly held on throughout the generations.  Jesus challenged, not so much the "who" of their invitation, but the "why."  They were given to inviting people with the hope and selfish expectation of being invited in return.  It wasn't so much of what they could give of themselves in a particular banquet or occasion, but what they might profit or benefit from in return at a later time.  One who was seen as "lesser" in society would have nothing to offer, thus truly exposing the motivation of the heart.  Jesus called them to see beneath the surface of what one physically has to offer.  The blessings and the benefits that we miss out on because of our selfish motivation is great.  Jesus called them to look at those who have also been hand crafted by God in the image of God.

Don't forget that you have nothing offer Him who has invited you into His presence.  His motivation was not based on what He could get out of you.  Romans 5:8 says, that while you were still a sinner, Christ died for you.  This was His demonstration of love.  His demonstration what His motivation.  You are called to the same.  He saw in your what others would not see and what you could not see.  You are worth it.  Purpose to love others in the same way.  As you see in them what Jesus sees in you, you will be blessed (supremely blessed; by extension of the One from whom all blessing originate!).

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