“In-reach or Outreach?”

The Parables of Jesus

March 24, 2022

“In-reach or Outreach?”

Luke 14:12-14

All churches are involved in outreach and in reach. In- reach is an event or program for your church members. Outreach is precisely the opposite. It is reaching out to the community with programs and events that will benefit them.

A lot of quibbling goes on within many churches about how much outreach should happen. Some churches give money to many different mission groups, but that doesn’t really touch their community. In my opinion, 80% of the church’s work should be about reaching out to the community.

Here’s an example of in-reach and outreach.

Outreach – When I was still in full-time ministry, my youth group would collect money and food items to deliver to needy families. As a result, I received names of families in need from local middle schools.

On Thanksgiving and Christmas, the youth and their parents would deliver bags of groceries, turkeys, and hams. This food would be delivered to about 80 families each time. Also, six times during the year, my group and I would distribute bags of food to 12-15 families in need. This is just one of many outreach items the youth and church participated in.

In-reach – Each year, during Lent and Advent, dinner was offered each week before our worship services. Of course, anyone could attend, but it was generally an in-reach event, and only members attended it.

This brings us to our Parable of the day.

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Yesterday I shared one of three Parables told while Jesus and His disciples were guests at the home of a Pharisee. Here now is the second.

Jesus at a Pharisee’s House (Part two)

“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

First, please understand that Jesus is not saying we should never invite our friends and family over to dinner. It’s okay to have them over. They will compliment your food your beautiful home, and at some point, they may return the compliment by inviting you to their home for dinner.

Jesus is criticizing when people strictly do good things to receive an earthly reward. We should never have a self-seeking attitude and use people or circumstances for our own advantage.

Remember the outreach food program I spoke of earlier. My youth group nor the church will receive no earthly reward for doing the outreach we did into the community. Sure, we’ll get an occasional thank you card. But, unlike the family dinner that can be reciprocated, the outreach event will probably never be returned.

That’s okay.

“Works of charity perhaps may not be rewarded in this world, for the things of this world are not the best things, but they shall in no wise lose their reward. It will be found that the longest voyages make the richest rewards.”
(Matthew Henry’s Commentary in on one volume. Zondervan, 1964. Pp. 1465)

Although we should never serve the needy or others to achieve rewards in heaven. Those who serve others as Jesus did mankind will find their reward in most cases. Not now or in this world, but instead, in eternity.

Dear Jesus. Let outreach to the needy become second nature to us. Let us never help others for our own gain. Instead, let us serve others as you did. Out of compassion, empathy, and love. Amen.

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