When you give a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. (Lk 14:12)
Fundraising dinners are critical for the life of any non-profit agency working to transform a community. The right people need to be invited. New people need to be included. No matter what your relationship, there is a clear expectation each guest will contribute. Significant donors have expectations they will be recognized for their efforts. They also expect their friends to reciprocally contribute to each others cause.
Since these dinners and the gifts they bring are so critical, non-profits spend a great deal of energy looking for friends. Friends are people who are growing through their services; have a predisposition to their work; or may find their work significant. These organizations could not survive living by the lesson Jesus teaches today, invite with no expectation to receive in return.
I attended one of these dinners this weekend only to discover the true meal had been served long before I arrived. The real dinner happened when a group of people saw a collection of wounded souls and decided to invite them in without any expectation of return payment. These servants tended to the needs of those crippled, poor and lame in a variety of ways. Through their work, the entire group found a home, a place at a table and a feast.
As I sat eating, I looked around and felt as though I were dining in the kingdom of heaven. Joy washed over the meal and filled each soul in that room with love. As I write this morning, I find my soul yearning to return to that place and feeling. It’s a feeling that could not happen if only friends, relatives and a select group had been invited to attend.
When we love only those who love us in return, our table shrinks and our joy is confined. However, when we pour out our love on those who expect nothing in return, we find ourselves walking on holy ground. The joy of the experience cannot be contained to any one place or meal. Love without expecting in return and discover what Jesus means.
Click to Read Luke 14: 12-14
Photo Courtesy of Unsplash.com and Andreas Renningen