Unto the Least of These!

This week's command is a hard one for me to apply, and I am not sure if it is because of today's culture or because of my judgmental attitude. The command is to 'Bring in the Poor.' "Then said He also to him that bade Him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsman, nor thy rich neighbours, lest they also bid thee again and a recompense be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: and thou shalt be blessed, for they cannot recompense thee, but thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just" (Luke 14:12-14).
At first you may read this and think, 'What?! we can't invite our friends over???" I don't think this is a command against fellowshipping with loved ones, but I think we tend to only call those who we love and are comfortable being around. Sometimes we have the attitude that we will only allow certain respectable families over, and other less-than-holy families, well...that would just be awkward!
I think it is hard for me to picture inviting the poor over because I envision the panhandlers on the side of the road who are getting rich by standing on the corner. Granted, not all are lazy, but I can't help but think that they should spend their time looking for a job. Is my non-Christian attitude coming through too much?? That being said, II Thess3:10 says, "For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat." I believe that this command is asking us to call those into our homes who are poor because they cannot work (because they are maimed, lame, blind, etc.) or because they are trying to work but are not making ends meet.
This command has pros for us too, because Jesus said that we will be blessed if we do this. We will be blessed as we give sacrificially, expecting nothing in return, and we will be blessed into eternity as we receive rewards in heaven. In Matthew, Jesus says that what we do to others, we are also doing to Jesus. "Then shall the king say unto them that are on his right hand, Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was hungry, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and you gave me drink: I was a stranger and you took me in: Naked and you clothed me: I was sick, and you visited me: I was in prison and ye came to me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee hungry, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison and came unto thee?  And the king shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me" (Matthew 25:34-40). I think it is interesting that in the story of Lazarus, we see the rich man begging to be relieved of his torment in hell and Abraham reminds him of Lazarus who begged at his gate daily. Out of all the things that could have been said to the rich man, he was reproved for neglecting the poor and maimed.
This all comes back to the chief command to love God and to love others as ourselves. What resources do you have that you can give to those who are in need? In Acts they gave of their things so that they could be distributed to those who needed it. (Acts 4:35). Practice hospitality: demonstrating God's love for others by blessing them with what He has given to us.
How you apply this is going to vary family to family, but the important thing is that you obey. My friend told me this analogy that impacted her, and has been on my thoughts a lot too.
    A father told his son to go clean his room. A while later the boy came back and his father asked if he had fulfilled the task. "No dad, but I went and memorized every single word you said, word perfect!" The dad told him again to go clean his room. The son came back again and the father asked if he had cleaned his room. He replied, "No, but I invited all my friends over, and we studied what you said and had a discussion on what you meant when you said 'Clean your room."
I think you get the picture here; the dad wanted his son to obey. There is a place for memorizing and studying, but are we replacing that with being doers of the Word?  I am definitely speaking for myself here!
-When was the last time that I invited someone over who could not repay me?
-Am I willing to be a friend to those with less?
-Do I give the best to those in need?
"He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed, for he giveth of his bread to the poor" (Proverbs 22:9).
Notes adapted from IBLP Commands of Christ study guide and pocket guide

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