“Then Jesus said to his host, “When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors; if you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”” Luke 14:12-14 NIV
Jesus visited a Pharisee’s house and eat with them. He noticed that the guest were picking places of honor to seat at the table. He tells them to don’t seek those places because it is better to be honored by our humbleness than humiliated by our own exaltation.
Then also there was an advice for the host, the verse above.
While reading it, I really saw part of the Japanese culture here. In a way, the expectation of others for you to give back when something was given to you never made sense in my heart, because it feels more as an obligation rather than a thankful attitude of the heart. And we can see that is really an obligation, because if you don’t give back something after receiving it, some people would think you are rude.
For example, in a wedding in Japan, it is expected for the guests to “give blessings” or purely, pay a fee of the wedding’s reception, but also it is expected for the hosts to give a gift to the guests as an appreciation. If any of these parties fail to do so, you are considered to be rude.
Once my wife’s friend gave us something and the first thing she said was “Don’t even think about giving me something back. I don’t understand this culture of ‘if I received I should give back something, and if I gave I expect to receive something back’”.
It is becomes an endless cycle of obligation and expectations.
Culture aside, what Jesus tries to teach us is about do good without expect something back, without expect rewards.
That is why he says, instead of inviting people that could give back something, do the good for those who cannot pay you back in anyway. When we do so, we know our hearts are in the right place.
It does not mean we cannot or should not invite our friends, families or neighbors to our home. But instead, it is about to do good to people, help them out, give them something, without expect anything back.
These days ago I was thinking about it, as I am living in Japan, I want to be able to follow these culture rules and be polite to all specially to the non believers.
And as for believers I think we need to be walking the extra mile toward others without expecting rewards.
But everyone of us (including me), we need to check our own heart. Am I giving my time, my resources, or gifts to others thinking that something will be given back to me? Or am I giving with the right motivation in the heart, to bless without expecting anything back?
Do good to others without expecting anything back, is the way that Jesus taught us how to live.
Jesus, help me to give expecting no rewards. Help me to do good with the right motivation in my heart, to bless others as you have blessed me.