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August 20 – Table etiquette for Jesus’ followers

For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. – Luke 14:11

Scripture reading: Luke 14:1-14

Jesus enjoyed His food and wine, but most of all He enjoyed the fellowship of other people around the dinner table. Table fellowship was vital to Jesus’ ministry. In our passage, Jesus is eating at the home of a Pharisee. Many guests are present. In this parable, Jesus teaches us how to be guests (verses 7-11) and how to be a host (verses 12-14). He teaches us how to receive and give hospitality.

God’s grace humbles us. What does that look like? It’s the opposite of what we see in our reading. The guests at the feast love honour and the host honours those who invite him back. This pattern is often seen in table fellowship. This is not the way of God’s grace. Jesus says that when you are invited as a guest, don’t look for a place of honour. Don’t vie for position or put yourself forward. Be a willing servant. As a guest, honour others above yourself. Likewise, to the host who invited Him, Jesus says, ‘Don’t just invite those who invite you back.’ You should not think of hospitality in this kind of calculating way. Our hospitality should reflect God’s generous hospitality toward us. We can never repay Him!

What is the way of God’s grace and blessing? “Invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind.” Invite to your table outcasts and strangers who can never repay you. Does God’s grace humble you to serve Christ in this new way? He shall reward you at the resurrection!

Suggestions for prayer

Ask God for grace to fight against our pride and to shape us to be more like Christ. Pray for grace to be hospitable and to show hospitality to one another with a servant-like attitude.

Rev. Tony Zekveld currently serves as missionary-pastor in the Hope Congregation in East Brampton, Ontario, sent by Covenant Christian Church (URCNA) of Wyoming, Ontario. Rev. Zekveld and his wife, Arley-Ann, have five children and, so far, eight grandchildren. This daily devotional is also available in a print edition you can buy at Nearer to God Devotional.

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