Luke and The Lost
Momma, thought it was time for me to sing a solo at church. We came from a very musical family. Grandpa led worship at our church. Either mom or Aunt Edith played the piano. Family gatherings always ended with all of us at the piano singing old favorites and trying new songs for church.
But I was scared silly. We practiced together at home for what seemed like hours to a ten year old. She played the piano as I tried to unloose my nervous voice to sing the song she chose. As an alto by nature, the song had high notes, but I sang it because it was mom’s favorite…”Make Me a Blessing”.
This song wasn’t about asking God to bless me but to use me to be a blessing to someone else. I still can picture her hands at the piano in my childhood home. I still hear the music in my ears and now fully understand the meaning of the song.
I don’t remember much about my debut as a soloist except for the loving grandparents and others who encourage and affirmed me after church. I didn’t hit all the notes and the song was not exactly belted out with gusto but in a soft whisper. They gathered around with loving hugs to bless me.
This is what comes to mind when I read Luke 14. You will see why when you read the entire passage. Jesus has been invited to the prestigious home of one of the top religious leaders of the Pharisees for a grand Sabbath meal. It seems to be an awkward moment as all eyes are on His every move. (Kind of like singing a solo for the first time!) Right before him is a man who needs healing. These very men of power have rebuked Jesus earlier for healing on the Sabbath. I wonder if the man was even planted there just to see what Jesus would do. Mm.
Before healing, Jesus makes the Pharisees think about the last time and brings them to this moment to see what they have learned from the last encounter. The only thing they learned is to not argue with Jesus…to His face. Here’s a funny thought, they think He doesn’t know what they are thinking! Ridiculous, isn’t it?
Jesus heals the man and tells another story. I love it! Jesus, who doesn’t miss anything or any thought of man, teaches those gathered at the big meal about being a blessing instead of expecting to be blessed and honored as children of God. Let’s listen in…and learn.
Luke 14, The Message
7-9 He went on to tell a story to the guests around the table. Noticing how each had tried to elbow into the place of honor, he said, “When someone invites you to dinner, don’t take the place of honor. Somebody more important than you might have been invited by the host. Then he’ll come and call out in front of everybody, ‘You’re in the wrong place. The place of honor belongs to this man.’ Red-faced, you’ll have to make your way to the very last table, the only place left.
10-11 “When you’re invited to dinner, go and sit at the last place. Then when the host comes he may very well say, ‘Friend, come up to the front.’ That will give the dinner guests something to talk about! What I’m saying is, If you walk around with your nose in the air, you’re going to end up flat on your face. But if you’re content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself.”
12-14 Then he turned to the host. “The next time you put on a dinner, don’t just invite your friends and family and rich neighbors, the kind of people who will return the favor. Invite some people who never get invited out, the misfits from the wrong side of the tracks. You’ll be—and experience—a blessing. They won’t be able to return the favor, but the favor will be returned—oh, how it will be returned!—at the resurrection of God’s people.”
What do we learn?
–BE with Jesus. Then BE a blessing.
And I’m singing…(to myself)
Out in the highways and byways of life,
many are weary and sad;
are weary and sad
Carry the sunshine where darkness is rife
making the sorrowing glad.
Make me a blessing,
Make me a blessing,
Out of my life
out of my life
May Jesus shine;
Make me a blessing, O savior, I pray,
I pray Thee, my Savior,
Make me a blessing to someone today.
Tell the sweet story of Christ and His love;
Tell of His pow’r to forgive;
His pow’r to forgive.
Others will trust Him if only you prove
true ev’ry moment you live.
Give as ’twas given to you in your need;
Love as the Master loved you;
Be to the helpless a helper indeed;
Unto your mission be true.
Help us remember that you have blessed us with all we need to be blessings even today.
In Jesus Name, I pray. Amen