Luke 14:7–14 (NKJV)
Jesus is a guest at a banquet, and offers advice to the guests and the host that could help them with the social graces, but also with their spiritual lives as well. He teaches them how to be humble in order to be exalted, and then how to be a gracious host without pretense.
7 So He told a parable to those who were invited, when He noted how they chose the best places, saying to them: 8 “When you are invited by anyone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in the best place, lest one more honorable than you be invited by him; 9 and he who invited you and him come and say to you, ‘Give place to this man,’ and then you begin with shame to take the lowest place. 10 But when you are invited, go and sit down in the lowest place, so that when he who invited you comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, go up higher.’ Then you will have glory in the presence of those who sit at the table with you. 11 For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”Luke 14:7-11
Jesus observes the guests at a feast showing up and taking the best seats, as if they were worthy of such favor. He reminds them that there may be more honored guests who will come later, requiring them to take lesser seats and–in some way–causing them shame. Jesus encouraged early guests to sit at the lowest seats, thereby allowing the host to call them up to a better seat, which would create a move of honor rather than a move of shame. This is good banquet etiquette, I suppose, but also good advice for life. Don’t presume that you deserve a higher honor, but rather let someone else honor you. When it comes from another, it brings true honor. When you presume a place of honor and then lose it, it does bring shame. Be humble and let another honor you.
12 Then He also said to him who invited Him, “When you give a dinner or a supper, do not ask your friends, your brothers, your relatives, nor rich neighbors, lest they also invite you back, and you be repaid. 13 But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind. 14 And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you shall be repaid at the resurrection of the just.”Luke 14:12-14
In this section of the passage, Jesus turns His attention to the host. He basically tells the host that anyone can invite their friends and relatives to a banquet. That is easy. You actually can expect a return invite. But when you invite a poor person, or a disadvantaged person, you may not be repaid at all. That is true charity, and will bring an eternal reward. Don’t do what is easy all the time. Rather, do what it eternal in nature. Let your hospitality have a larger purpose than a banquet invitation from your obligated friend. Let your hospitality be for a higher purpose, not just at your banquet, but every day.