Jesus really shook up the social structure in Luke 14: 12-23 when he told banquet guests to not sit according to their social status, telling people at the back to move to the front. He also offered unwanted advice to the host, telling him to invite people he dislikes to parties, including those considered social outcasts.
This went against the norms of society in Roman times, and it still does today. In society, gratitude is often transactional. It’s easy to see it at the political level — a billionaire gives money to a political candidate with the expectation of receiving political favors later. But it’s also in our personal lives — we act nice and show gratitude to that person who may play a hand in a later promotion, we are nice to the neighbor that has season tickets in hopes we can cash out someday, we hang out with that family with kids expecting them to take in our children one night so we can enjoy a date night.
But Jesus implores us to think of gratitude differently. God has provided us with everything we need, so we are free to show genuine gratitude to others.
“The Beggar’s Banquet”
Sermon by The Rev. Joe Gunby
Oct. 20, 2018