When you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Luke 14:13–14
Ludmilla, a widow aged eighty-two, has declared her home in the Czech Republic an “Embassy of the Kingdom of Heaven,” saying, “My home is an extension of Christ’s kingdom.” She welcomes strangers and friends who are hurting and in need with loving hospitality, sometimes providing food and a place to sleep—always with a compassionate and prayerful spirit. Relying on the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to help her care for her visitors, she delights in the ways God answers their prayers.
Ludmilla serves Jesus through opening her home and heart, in contrast to the prominent religious leader at whose home Jesus ate one Sabbath. Jesus told this teacher of the law that he should welcome “the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind” to his home—and not those who could repay him (Luke 14:13). While Jesus’ remarks imply that the Pharisee hosted Jesus out of pride (v. 12), Ludmilla, so many years later, invites people to her home so she can be “an instrument of God’s love and His wisdom.”
Serving others with humility is one way we can be “representatives of the kingdom of heaven,” as Ludmilla says. Whether or not we can provide a bed for strangers, we can put the needs of others before our own in different and creative ways. How will we extend God’s kingdom in our part of the world today?
How do you think the Pharisee reacted when Jesus told him to act differently? How do you like to make people feel welcome?
Jesus, thank You for looking out for those in need. Help me to be more like You, that I would care for others, showing them Your love.
In his gospel, Luke often highlights the event behind Jesus’ telling of a parable (see Luke 12:13; 15:1–2; 18:9; 19:11). In chapter 14, we read that “[Jesus] noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table” (v. 7). Ancient dining protocol dictated that the two places of highest honor were on the right and left of the host (Matthew 20:21). This parable teaches us that it’s better to humble oneself than to be humiliated by others, which is Jesus’ constant warning (Matthew 23:12; Luke 18:14). Pointing to Christ as our model, Paul teaches us to “have the same mindset as Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5) who—though He was God—became a human servant.