The Dinner Invitation…

The invitation read: “We want you to join us for dinner this Friday night.” It went on to give me the place, time, and suggested attire. I really didn’t know this family very well. In fact, I had just met them a week earlier in church. I was a freshman at the University of Florida – wide eyed and completely overwhelmed. It wasn’t but a few days earlier that I waved goodbye to my mom and dad as they drove away from Fletcher Hall – all three of us with tears running down our faces (I can now admit to that fact). So as I stood at my mailbox, reading this dinner invitation, I couldn’t quite process the intent or meaning. I thought, “Who is this family? Why are they inviting me? What do I possibly have to offer? Am I supposed to return the invite? Can I serve dinner in my dorm? Where is my mom?!

I decided to give it a go, and RSVP’d as requested. I can vividly remember the nervous walk to their front door, knocking, and then the awkward greetings and introduction to the rest of the family. I can also picture the long, rectangular table that was set for a KING. My hosts asked me to sit at the head of the table and we began an evening of loving conversation and good food that would forever be etched in my life. I can remember driving back to my dorm that night thinking – wow…This loving family saw an opportunity to invite into their home an 18 year old college student facing life for the first time on his own, with only one intention – to share with him the love of their family and the love of Christ. I had nothing to offer them. I certainly couldn’t return the lavish favor. But I immediately thought of this family this morning as I read Luke 14:

“The next time you put on a dinner, don’t just invite your friends and family and rich neighbors, the kind of people who will return the favor. Invite some people who never get invited out, the misfits from the wrong side of the tracks. You’ll be – and experience – a blessing. They won’t be able to return the favor, but the favor will be returned – oh, how it will be returned! – at the resurrection of God’s people.”

To this day, my family is living out the influence of this special night that occurred some 20 years ago. Hardly a week goes by that we are not entertaining in our home. The motivation? My only hope is that I can somehow pay forward the blessing. Each one of us are blessed to bless others.

Lord, today may we pay forward your blessings onto those whom you place in our path…


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