The challenging sayings of the Lord Jesus continue today. The message is that you cannot be a follower of Jesus on your own terms – you cannot just serve in your spare time. And the motive is important – we must not serve in anticipation of getting immediate benefits. Jesus illustrated this with parables, such as those who “give a dinner or a banquet” with the expectation of receiving a return invite (see Luke 14:12). Those who see themselves as members of an exclusive happy family whose purpose is to enjoy one another’s company are hardly faithful servants of the Lord Jesus. His servants are to be lights shining in a dark world.

Paul put this very well: “What we proclaim is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, with ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake. For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:5,6).

How do we show this light of knowledge in daily living? One way, said Jesus, “when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just” (14:13,14). As with all his parables, Jesus is using normal events to illustrate spiritual principles. It is among the ‘lowly’ people in today’s affluent world where some are still responding to the light.

This is fulfilling verses 21,22 of the parable where the Master said to his servant, “‘Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame’. And the servant said, ‘Sir, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room’”. So he is told to go out again.

The final ingathering must be nearly complete. Let us make sure we are using every opportunity to aid this final ingathering, and then we “will be repaid at the resurrection of the just”.