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  • Writer's pictureLaura Kae

Party: just don’t invite your friends

As some of you know, last week I had a lovely time in Mexico. I love Mexico. It is my favorite country south of our border. This may be because it is the only country south of our border that I have ever been to. I think this was the most beautiful trip south of the border that I have ever had. To be fair, each year when I return, I am in a better place spiritually than I was the previous visit; so it is only natural that the trips become sweeter and sweeter.

One day I was wondering as I was wandering around this happy home in Mexico, and I remembered Jesus’ command about who to invite to a party. Now I don’t recall there being any prompt for the memory. I never read it in Scripture nor was I at a party. I began to ponder the story.

I knew I didn’t remember the details nor could I actually tell you what its context was or to whom Jesus gave the command. I could only remember that Jesus told someone that when they held a feast, they should not invite their friends or other people who could/would be able to return the favor and invite them back; but they should instead invite the poor who would never be able to repay them. Basically from what I could remember Jesus told His disciples that when they partied, they should invite the people that they didn’t really want to come to come. The memory of this command made me really uncomfortable. I did not like the command at all.

I considered the culture I was surrounded by in America. No one I knew was inviting the poor to their feasts instead of their friends. To be fair, neither was I. And when I was honest with myself, I figured if I did know people who were actually following this command of Jesus, they probably weren’t busy telling all the people around them about the parties they were throwing for the poor.

I recalled fairly recently overhearing someone comment to someone else, “Whenever you throw a party, you need to invite so-and-so and so-and-so, they will actually even clean it up for you. You won’t have any cleanup the next day.” I winced at the memory. Neither I nor my friends seemed to be considering Jesus’ commands about partying.

To be honest, I didn’t want to begin following Jesus’ command either. When I throw a party, I want it to be with my friends. I want to use the time and money to build stronger relationships with people I already love who love me. I want to feel good.

Part of me wondered how this command applied to my life at all since I really can’t afford to throw parties in the first place. Hosting dinner group is nearly always a fascinating game of “how can I make what is really cheap seem more expensive?” A couple years ago, one of the groups I was in told me to just feed them what I ate, so I did. I wasn’t as rich then as I am now. Mealtime was a little quieter that night. One woman bravely went for seconds. Another tentatively did her very best to find something to compliment about the meal. That memory always makes me grin just a little.

So did that mean this command of Jesus didn’t apply to me? Could I get out of having to follow it?

Could the party we throw for the children in Mexico on the last day of the trip count? Maybe Jesus didn’t mean it as an everyday thing. Maybe He meant it more as a “once a year if you happen to be on a mission trip in a foreign country” thing.

It must have been a day or two later. It was likely in the morning. I love mornings at Casa Hogar Alegre. I rise early before anyone else at the orphanage – be they Mexican or American. I have some sort of shower or washing and then dress for the day. A half hour after rising, you can find me enjoying the view in the above panoramic photo. Only it is still dark. The sounds of the early morning include howling monkeys (from the neighboring zoo), incessantly barking dogs and crowing roosters. The people sleep.

So I bravely found the story I was remembering. I read it mostly for one purpose. There had to be a loophole. Otherwise someone I knew would be doing this. After all, my life was surrounded by genuine followers of Christ whom I love deeply. On top of that, I didn’t really want to engage the command in my own life. Frankly I want to have fun hanging out with my friends!

But I didn’t have to find a loophole because when I read the story, I discovered that Jesus didn’t give that command to His disciples. He gave it to a Pharisee. I am not a Pharisee. I am a disciple. Clearly He wasn’t talking to me.

Thank God.

How do you react when you read commands in Scripture that are really hard to follow? What do you do when the culture around you does one thing but Christ calls you to another?

(Luke 14)

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