Saturday in the Eighteenth Week of Ordinary Time

Luke 14:1-14

A Hard Lesson in Real Hospitality

Hospitality was considered one of the greatest virtues in the early Church.  Indeed, in the first few centuries, a bishop was expected to take people into his own house – the homeless, the traveler, whoever might need shelter.  It was the Church that began hospitals and orphanages centuries ago.  Our Lord says to us, “…share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house, when you see the naked to cover him, and not to hide yourself from their own flesh.  Then shall your light break forth like the dawn” (Isaiah 58:7-8).  Our Lord values hospitality and the giving of ourselves to others, especially when it is not convenient for us to do so.

Here, we have another instance of our Lord’s healing of a man on the Sabbath day and the indignation of the religious leaders for doing so, not because the Law said not to heal on the Sabbath but because they had twisted the Law such that scruples meant more than people.  Then Jesus teaches a lesson on humility.  The point is not that we should act with deceit for the purpose of appearing lowly and humble – there is nothing praiseworthy in that.  The point is at the end of the parable: “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”  I see this in the context of the entire chapter which is on hospitality.  A hospitable person will humble himself and allow others to go before him; he will rejoice over the exaltation of others even when it means his own abasement.  It isn’t that a truly humble person thinks less of himself, but that he thinks of himself less often than he does of others.

And finally we have the lesson that few follow.  Most of us enjoy having people over for dinner; there’s nothing wrong with that.  (I’m always amused when I hear of political fundraisers where a plate goes for ten thousand dollars.)  But how often do we invite people other than our friends – the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind.  And what’s worse is that the reason we don’t do this is not because we would rather invite people who can repay us, but because we just don’t want to be around those people.  We don’t know them as well, they smell bad, we don’t trust them not to steal things, some of them have mental problems, we deserve to have a nice Thanksgiving dinner with our own families (even though the pilgrims invited the Indians).  There are a million and one ways to rationalize why we can’t follow the Scriptures when we don’t want to; I’ve done it far too many times, myself.  As our society grows more impersonal, the Church must reclaim this virtue.  Then shall our light break forth like the dawn.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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