The Least of These

Our best banquets should honor those who need it the most.
— Pastor Rodney

Immediately, when I think about those who need honor, if I’m not careful, I will twist it and think about those who deserve honor — those that have done big things, those that live really full, wonderful lives, those shining examples or high achievers. But that’s not what this means — that’s not who I should be looking to lift up. Jesus said in Luke 14:14 that “God will reward you for inviting those who could not repay you.”

What if we thought about those needing honor being the ones most deficient in it? The ones who can’t repay honor for honor, as Jesus said. The ones who haven’t been invited in for a long time. The ones who have little to give. The least of these.

Perhaps when you picture it, like me, you think of somebody on the side of the road, wrapped in rags, begging for food. I think that this means that, for sure.

But I also think it includes some people who might be closer to home.

I think about those who can’t repay us — our children, for example. That’s surely not an equal transaction. Or those around us who are aging, in need of help. Or the unpopular coworker who always eats alone. Or the neighbor that gripes at you for having your grass an inch too long.

What would it look like to start there? To honor them?

Maybe it’s practical. Perhaps we use mealtime to invite people in and lift them up, mimicking the banquet metaphor in Luke 14 in the most realistic way. Maybe it’s with a gift or with a card. Maybe it’s deferring to them as a conscious act of selflessness. Maybe you know what it is, and as you’re reading this, you can’t get this one act off of your mind. Don’t hold back.

Sometimes we are so protective of our resources, our time, our energy, our meals, our gifts. Yet we have a God who turns the world’s ways upside down. He says that when we make ourselves less, we become more in His Kingdom. He says that His Spirit gives us the gift of selflessness. He says that we honor Him most when we take care of the downtrodden, the hungry, the thirsty. He says to give to those who won’t be able to give back — and it’s so unlike our instincts, but the Spirit in us leads us to it, opens our eyes to those who need, and equips us to give. We can trust that He will meet us there, at that moment of giving. And we pray that He uses our hands and our gifts and our words and our meal times for Him.

Call to action:

Prayerfully consider who in your current life needs (not just deserves) honor. Make a step to honor them this week without expecting to be paid back.

Read for next week:

Luke 14:25-35