Commands of Christ

Bring In the Poor

Where is this command found?

“Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbors; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompense be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: and thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.”

Luke 14:12–14

Applying This Command

Making a dinner or a feast for a crowd of guests is no small undertaking. It requires the skill of preparing delicious and nutritious food, the ability to plan events of interest for the guests during the meal, and the skill of making everyone feel at home.

Jesus challenged us to remove motives of personal gain by stating that we are not to invite guests who can pay us back with an invitation to his or her home for a meal.“When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee” (Luke 14:12).

This command reveals the Lord Jesus Christ as the Friend of the poor and needy. Many in the days of Jesus did not see needy people — they saw only superficial classifications that they themselves had created. Therefore, they spoke against Jesus, “Behold a man gluttonous, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners” (Matthew 11:19). Much of the teaching that Jesus gave to those who had special needs took place at the dinner table.

Bible Verses for Meditation

In addition to meditation on Luke 14:12–14, meditating on the verses below will provide you with further insight and understanding of Christ’s command: Bring In the Poor.

James 2:5

“Hearken, my beloved brethren, Hath not God chosen the poor of this world rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?”

Proverbs 28:27

“He that giveth unto the poor shall not lack: but he that hideth his eyes shall have many a curse.”

Proverbs 22:9

“He that hath a bountiful eye shall be blessed; for he giveth of his bread to the poor.”

Psalm 82:3–4

“Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy. Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked.”

I Corinthians 13:3

“And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.”

Proverbs 19:17

“He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the LORD; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.”

Matthew 25:40

“… Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

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Study Question

Q: Every community has poor people who are capable of getting a job but refuse to work. Scripture commands that if any will not work, neither should he eat. Should people who refuse to work be invited to a feast? (See II Thessalonians 3:10.)

A: There are several categories of poor people identified in Scripture, including those who are poor because they refuse to work. Paul instructed that if a fellow believer is in this category, he should not be given food.

“For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. For we hear that there are some which walk among you disorderly, working not at all, but are busybodies. Now them that are such we command and exhort by our Lord Jesus Christ, that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread” (II Thessalonians 3:10–12).

However, there are people who, for reasons beyond their control, are placed in a condition of poverty. It is this group to whom God refers in the command to invite the poor as guests to our feasts. (See Luke 14:13–14.)

The purpose of a feast would be to demonstrate the love of Christ to those who are in special need and to honor them. However, in the process of providing food, opportunities should be taken to learn about other needs that our guests may have. “The righteous considereth the cause of the poor” (Proverbs 29:7).

The poor need more than a meal—they need friends who accept them. We are the representatives of the One Who wants to be their best friend—the Lord Jesus Christ. Our response to the poor will give them hope and confidence that God loves them and will care for their needs.

For Further Study

You can learn more about the command Bring In the Poor in the book Commands of Christ: Series 6.

Other Resources

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