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A Thanksgiving Blessing

Today's Devotional

Read: Luke 14:12–14 | Bible in a Year: Ezekiel 20–21; James 5

When you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Luke 14:13–14

In 2016, Wanda Dench sent a text inviting her grandson to Thanksgiving dinner, not knowing he’d recently changed his phone number. The text instead went to a stranger, Jamal. Jamal didn’t have plans, and so, after clarifying who he was, asked if he could still come to dinner. Wanda said, “Of course you can.” Jamal joined the family dinner in what has since become a yearly tradition for him. A mistaken invitation became an annual blessing.

Wanda’s kindness in inviting a stranger to dinner reminds me of Jesus’ encouragement in Luke’s gospel. During a dinner party at a “prominent” Pharisee’s house (Luke 14:1), Jesus noticed who was invited and how the guests jostled for the best seats (v. 7). Jesus told His host that inviting people based on what they could do for him in return (v. 12) meant the blessing would be limited. Instead, Jesus told the host that extending hospitality to people without the resources to repay him would bring even greater blessing (v. 14).

For Wanda, inviting Jamal to join her family for Thanksgiving dinner resulted in the unexpected blessing of a lasting friendship that was a great encouragement to her after her husband’s death. When we reach out to others, not because of what we might receive, but because of God’s love flowing through us, we receive far greater blessing and encouragement.

When has an unexpected invitation encouraged you? What blessings did you experience?

Heavenly Father, may my invitations reflect a heart that wants to bless others as You lead me.

For further study, read Giving It Away.


Jesus’ instruction to invite the poor and the outcast to a meal (Luke 14:12–14) is something God wanted the Israelites to do. God commanded His people not to mistreat or oppress the poor, the widows, the orphans, and the foreigners living in their midst but instead to love them (Exodus 22:21; 23:9; Leviticus 19:33; Deuteronomy 10:19). Even as the Jews were blessed with material prosperity so they could enjoy the good life, they were commanded to be generous and share with others. They were to include the foreigner and the poor in their celebrations and feasts (Deuteronomy 16:9–12; 26:8–11) and to give a tithe to share God’s provisions and abundance with them (26:12). The Israelites were to treat foreigners as if they were native-born Jews and love them as they’d love themselves (Leviticus 19:34; 24:22; Deuteronomy 27:19).

By |2023-11-23T01:33:28-05:00November 23rd, 2023|
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