Today’s post is from my new book Love Like Jesus: How Jesus Loved People (and how you can love like Jesus). Last Saturday we posted Chapter 20: Jesus And The Charisma Myth. Love Like Jesus is due to be published later this year.
“When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”
Kids At Their Table
There’s an old joke about a couple who couldn’t have kids. They sought the help of their pastor who said he would fast and pray the last day of every month until they conceived. Shortly thereafter the couple moved to another town, so the couple and the pastor lost touch.
After a year of fasting in this fashion, the pastor ran into the woman who couldn’t have kids. He asked if anything happened and she shared they had a set of triplets, and not only that but she was twelve weeks pregnant, and not only that but her doctor said she might be pregnant with twins. The pastor was overjoyed. He asked where her husband was so he could find him and congratulate him. She said,
“He’s been gone for a week now, looking for you — he’s bringing you food!”
That story reminds me of my barber, Don. Don and his wife Jan just seem to accumulate kids. But it hasn’t happened through procreation. They have two of their own biological children, and then beyond that, I’ve lost count — and I’m not kidding. He and his wife took in foster child after foster child. Along the way they somehow wound up adopting a large assortment of those foster children. The stories he tells me about his family while I’m sitting in that barber’s chair are pretty crazy. Some of the kids they adopted have serious issues.
What they’ve given to those kids though, those kids can never pay back.
How Jesus Loved People
Jesus loved people by giving what could never be repaid. He was (and is) royalty. He is God’s only begotten son. He was with God in the beginning. And he made everything. So what could anyone possibly make that would serve as repayment to Jesus? Repayment for what he did for us on the cross? The answer is nothing. (John 1:1-4)
We can never repay him.
Love Like Jesus
This idea of loving people who can’t repay is one of the most important concepts in our quest to love like Jesus. We sometimes think of the miracles Jesus performed, throw up our hands and say, “Compared to Christ, what could I ever do for anyone?” But the reality is, there are plenty of people you can bless who can’t return the favor. There are people who would be thrilled just to have a few minutes of your attention, or a few dollars from your wallet, or a few morsels of your food.
Maybe you’re like me. Maybe most of the love you show people is toward those who can repay you. My lunch and dinner table is most often filled with friends and family who are likely to invite me back. And, quite often, when I give to someone who is likely to repay me — I’m proud of myself for doing it! I dwell on what I’ve given, and don’t give much thought to the probable payback.
But to love like Jesus, you and I need to seek out and give to the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and the kids. That’s how we’ll be blessed. As Jesus said, although they can’t repay us, we’ll be repaid at the resurrection of the just.
So to love like Jesus, find those who aren’t capable of reciprocating.
Find them and love them.
Give to them what they can never repay.
That’s how Jesus loved people.
That’s how you can love like Jesus.
Image Of Gospel Mission Servers via Sam Amlani — Creative Commons