There is in every human heart a terrible and powerful tendency to live by the law of earthly repayment, the law of reciprocity. There is a subtle and relentless inclination in our flesh to do what will make life as comfortable as possible and to avoid what will inconvenience us or agitate our placid routine or add the least bit of tension to our Thanksgiving dinner. The most sanctified people among us must do battle every day so as not to be enslaved by the universal tendency to always act for the greatest earthly payoff.Read the rest.
The people who lightly dismiss [Luke 14:12–14] as a rhetorical overstatement are probably blind to the impossibility of overstating the corruption of the human heart and its deceptive power to make us think all is well when we are enslaved to the law of reciprocity, the law which says: always do what will pay off in convenience, undisturbed pleasures, domestic comfort, and social tranquility. Jesus's words are radical because our sin is radical. He waves a red flag because there is destruction ahead for people governed by the law of reciprocity.
Why does it make such an eternal difference whom you invite to Thanksgiving dinner? It is not so much that this one afternoon is all-determining. The reason it makes an eternal difference is that it, along with many other occasions, reveals where our treasure is. Is Jesus, with his commands and promises, more valuable to us than tradition and convenience and earthly comfort? Is he our treasure or is the world?
That question is not decided during an invitation at church. It is decided at Thanksgiving dinner, and hour by hour every day, by whether we are willing to inconvenience ourselves for those who can't repay, or whether we avoid them and so preserve our placid routine.
It matters whom you invite to Thanksgiving dinner because it matters where your treasure is.
Thursday, November 15, 2012