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Luke  ◦   Chapter 14

1One Sabbath, Jesus went to lunch at the home of a leader of the Pharisee sect, and the Pharisees were watching closely for some way to accuse him.2Right in front of him was a man suffering from heart failure, with very swollen legs.3Jesus asked the Pharisees and lawyers, both of whom promoted a legal religion, "What is your opinion: is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath, or let people suffer and die?"4But they refused to answer, so Jesus put his hands on the man, healed him, and sent him home.

5Then, trying to help them realize the truth of God's law of love, he asked them, "If your child or pet fell into a well on the Sabbath day, would you not immediately pull them out?" 6But they still refused to answer.

7When he noticed how the guests were vying for the best seats, he told them this parable:8"When you are invited to a social event, don't take the best seats, presuming they are for you, for a more important person than you may have been invited.9And if that is the case, then you will be humiliated when the host comes to you and asks you to move.10Instead, when you arrive, take the least important seat; then, if the best seats are yours, you will be honored in front of all the other guests when the host moves you to the better seats.11For those who promote self will destroy themselves, but whoever humbles self will experience healing and exaltation."

12Turning to his host, Jesus said: "When you hold a dinner event, don't limit your invitations to friends and family, or prominent neighbors–those who in all likelihood will return the favor.13Instead, live in harmony with the law of love and include to your banquet the poor, sick, infirmed and underprivileged,14and you will be blessed. Although they cannot repay you in kind, you will receive an eternal reward at the resurrection of the healed."

15When one of the guests overheard this, he said to Jesus, "The person who eats at the feast in God's kingdom is the one who is truly blessed."

16Jesus replied, "A wealthy man prepared a great celebration and invited many guests.17When everything was prepared, he sent messengers to tell the invited guests, 'The food is prepared; it is time to come.'

18"But being concerned with their own interests, they all began making excuses. The first said, 'I have fields that I must tend. I'll take a rain check, please.'

19"Another said, 'I have just bought a new car, and I'm heading out on a test drive. Sorry, but I can't make it.'

20"Yet another said, 'I just got married; my spouse needs my attention so I won't be able to come.'

21"The messengers returned and told this to their employer. The owner of the estate was angry, knowing what those he loved would miss out on. He turned to the messengers and said, 'Go quickly out into the streets, alleys, and underpasses, and bring all the poor, sick, crippled, blind, and diseased you can find.'

22" 'Sir,' the messenger said, 'we have done this and there is still room for more.'

23"Then the master told his messengers, 'Go out into the country, canvas every lane, byway, trail and farm road and bring in everyone you find, so that my house will be full.24The sad truth is that not one of those people who rejected my invitation will taste of the bounty I have prepared.' "

25Very large crowds followed Jesus. He turned to them and said:26"Any person who loves their mother, father, wife, children, brothers or sisters — and yes, even their own life — more than me, keeps selfishness supreme in their heart and cannot be on my spiritual health-care team.27Anyone who refuses to die to selfishness and follow me in loving others more than self cannot be trusted by me to distribute the Remedy that I bring.

28"If you want to build a tower, would you not, before you start, consider the cost and be sure you have enough resources to complete it?29If you lay the foundation but then don't complete it, all who see it will think you are foolish30and say, 'That person doesn't complete what they start.'

31"Or what kind of king would go to war without first considering whether his ten thousand soldiers could win against the twenty thousand of his enemy?32If winning is unlikely, would he not send a peace delegation, long before the battle begins, to seek a peaceful solution?33In the same way, anyone who does not die to selfishness — giving up heart attachment to all they possess — cannot be trusted by me to distribute the Remedy that I bring.

34"Salt is good, but if no longer salty, can it be made salty again?35It is just waste at that point–no good for planting in, nor good as manure for fertilizing — so it is thrown away. Those with minds open to truth will understand."