An Unexpected Invitation

An Unexpected Invitation

An Unexpected Invitation
Luke 14:1, 7-14

When I was a pastoral intern at Trinity Lutheran Church in Santa Barbara I joined a barbershop singing chorus for a few months. During that time I got to know several of the other guys who sang in the chorus. One of the guys shared with me how he sometimes took down statistics for both the Los Angeles Lakers and the LA Sparks professional women’s basketball team. I had expressed to him that I was a basketball fan and how I thought it was really cool that he worked for the Laker and Sparks organizations, but it still came as a surprise when he invited me to join him one night for a Sparks game to watch the event and see what he did. I said yes and a week later drove down for the game with him.

He showed me around the Forum and we had great seats in the middle of the stadium just behind the scorer’s table. I didn’t expect to meet anyone famous that night, but then my friend invited me to go back to one of the VIP lounges to have food, and he introduced me to Kurt Rambis, a former Lakers player who then worked for the organization. It was an exciting and humbling experience to have received such an invitation.

Jesus reminds us in the book of Luke this Sunday to remain humble when we receive an unexpected invitation. He tells his listeners to not assume they have the place of honor, but to take a lower place and wait to be invited to go up higher. The reminder is to be grateful when you receive such an invitation and Jesus challenges his listeners to also make such an invitation to those who wouldn’t expect it. He says, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”

Have you ever received an invitation from someone that you didn’t expect? How did it make you feel? When we are invited to places or events of honor how can we respond with humility? How can we become people who aren’t afraid to unexpectedly invite all kinds of people to the gatherings we attend? How do you think someone would feel if you gave them a special invitation to church?

-Pastor Erik Goehner