When you host a banquet, invite those who are poor, maimed, lame, or blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous. (Luke 14:13-14)
If you were to drive by my house, you’d likely take a second glance at all the life whirling around in the middle of what some would call the badlands. A dozen boys are shooting hoops in the side yard while three girls are eating animal crackers and drinking lemonade at the picnic table in the front yard. Two boys are swinging from the horse swing dangling from the oak tree while four more jump on the trampoline. My second oldest is in the kitchen baking brownies to share when the animal crackers are gone.
Our family lives in an impoverished part of town where mamas work odd jobs and daddies are absent from homes and hunger is as real as the drugs being pushed down the street. You could probably call our home a community center because our home is the hub of neighborhood activity. The yard and everything in it belongs to every one of us and every one of us comes to the table as equally needy family members.
But this gathering around the table as a family didn’t happen overnight. It has taken five years of living among those on the margins of life and intentionally choosing to invite the poor, the addict, and the abused to our table. It has taken five years of standing in a lowly place in our city for us to find our place here. And it has taken five years of continually opening our hands wide enough to let the superabundance of kingdom resources flow through our fingers for God to remind us that we simply get to steward what He graciously gives us.
Jesus promises that our hospitality to the poor will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.
But friends, we can reap the blessings now. Let’s open our homes and invite the poor to our tables.
It doesn’t have to be fancy or formal. Just an open door. A friendly wave. And an invitation to come in. Let’s invite someone into our lives today and share a simple meal around a table together.
This message was written by Lori Harris and appears in A Moment to Breathe, a 365-day devotional from the (in)courage community, available wherever books are sold.Leave a Comment
Michele Morin says
Thanks for this challenge for a truly “open door” policy. We have a fairly steady stream of people coming and going here, but all well-known and just like us. It’s my desire to take more risks in a true biblical hospitality that takes in “the stranger and the alien.” I honor you, Lori, for your courage.
Beth Williams says
Thank you for being the hands and feet of Jesus. You are showing your children what it means to serve God & give to the needy. That is a great life lesson. This world clamors for beauty & riches. Groups where like minded people gather. Most don’t dare go to the inner city & look at the homeless & helpless. I have been blessed to be a part of a few ministries that help the down trodden. We have opened church doors to feed the less fortunate, offered & Christ’s love to them. We have tried to help some get jobs, find homes & make a new life for themselves. Honestly I get more out of doing that than anything. Just looking at their smiles & receiving their hugs is thanks enough. On a couple of Christmases I sponsored elderly people. One year I got an older lady & brought a few nice items for her. Last year I pick one lady & was able to get her two nice outfits. Made me feel good to be able to help someone in need & really make their day.
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
What a thought provoking challenge about whom we invite to our table? Like Michele, I admit to having plenty of similar people to my table. I’ve invited the widow, the orphan, the people of different color and culture, the down and out….but the addict? the prostitute? the homeless, the one who’s spent time behind bars? I’ve gone to where they live, but as for inviting them to where I live… there, I’m truly challenged. Jesus hung out with these children of God. Who am I not to do likewise?
I have fallen short of this. Thank-you Lori for giving us something worthwhile to think about.
Have a blessed day all,
Penny, I am so there with you. I have fallen short. Mostly out of fear.
Lori, thank you for the challenge and the beautiful example you have given us.
Rebecca Jones says
So wonderful you can do that. One of our neighbor’s daughters had gotten locked out of her house, in the days before all kids had phones, she instinctively came to mine because she had been here selling stuff for school. It was a nice feeling to know she felt safe here and I could let call her mother. I think all neighborhoods need a ” safe ” house, a place to go if they are in any danger, God bless.