The place of honor

By Dave Henning / August 20, 2013

The King will reply, “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.” -Matthew 25: 40

As John Ortberg concludes his discussion of Luke 14: 1-13 in Chapter 3 of Who is This Man?, he notes that Jesus’ advice to invite the undervalued to sit in honored places was a deliberate slap in the face to His host, who took great pride in keeping such people from defiling his mini-temple home.  Pastor Ortberg observes that Jesus’ crankiness and compassion arose from the same source- “his outrageous love for every individual and his pain for the undervalued.”

Lest we think the Pharisee and his guests really had ears to hear, Jesus reinforces His message as the meal concludes by telling “The Parable of the Great Banquet” (Luke 14: 15-24).  In the parable,  the host again invited those marginalized by society.  In the early centuries of the Church, a sermon given by Gregory of Nyssa applied Jesus’ words to caring for lepers, although they are equally applicable to all who are undervalued:

“In the same way, you and I have (been made in God’s image) . . . let us take care of Christ while there is still time.  Let us minister to Christ’s needs.  Let us give Christ nourishment.  Let us clothe Christ.  Let us gather Christ in.  Let us show Christ honor.”

Amidst the pain of our ministry downsizing or vocation loss, we, who acutely feel the pain of being undervalued, can be blessed as we minister to others who are hurting.

Today’s question: How does Jesus’ “outrageous love for every individual” sustain you during your healing journey toward revisioning and revitalization of God’s calling?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “Sons and daughters of God”


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Dave Henning

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