Kendra Intihar 

Today’s Scripture: “But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just.” Luke 14:13-14, ESV 

Theme: Love people who can’t return the favor. 


When my now seventeen-year-old daughter was just an infant, my husband and I were completely broke. He was bagging groceries while going to school; I was working part time in childcare. We did not have two nickels to rub together. When we would get sick, we’d visit a free clinic that was literally called, “The Clinic for People Without Health Insurance.” My daughter and I were on government assistance, so I’d go to grocery stores during off-hours to avoid judgmental glances. We were living hand-to-mouth, and it was hard. Life was hard.  


We were quite proud, so we never asked for help. In hindsight, we should have, but I don’t think anyone knew how desperately we were living, and we preferred it that way. One evening, I was staring into the pantry, crying and willing it to magically materialize something besides a jar of peanut butter and a box of Cheerios, when I heard the doorbell ring. It was Domino’s pizza. Paid for. Tip and everything. My mother said she thought we could use a treat.  

Other times, she’d come over and see our bare refrigerator. Despite my insistence that she had come at the end of the grocery week and that everything was fine, she’d say, “Get in the car. We’re going shopping.” And friends, she bought “the good stuff.” She’d fill the grocery cart with Ritz crackers, soda, the really good cheeses, chips and dips, sandwich spreads. All the things we would never consider buying for ourselves would be nearly spilling out of the cart. The memory of it is enough to make me emotional, even today. 


For years, I kept track of how much she’d spent on us with these gestures so that at some point down the road, when our circumstances changed, I might surprise her by paying her back. But then one day I realized something: I could literally never pay my mother back. There was no way to quantify her selflessness in dollars and cents. Not only that, but she’d never accept it if we tried. She had done it because she loved us – not because she wanted something in return. I have spent the past decade promising my mother that when my children are grown, I will pay her kindness forward by loving my kids as extravagantly and selflessly as she has loved us. Obviously, as a grandmother, she supports this plan. 

Make It Personal: There are many strings – or expectations – we can attach to loving others. Strings like reciprocity, loyalty, favors, indebtedness, and partiality. The love of Jesus is exemplified in us when we love people with no strings attached, not because they can reciprocate but simply because they are children of God, worthy of love. I know what it feels like to be on the receiving end of such love. You probably do, too. People’s lives are changed when they experience love given without condition. Let’s cut the strings and expectations and love people as unreservedly and extravagantly as Jesus. 

Pray: Jesus, You have loved us with a love that is pure and wholehearted. We confess that we are, in some ways, ensnared by a “quid pro quo” culture that only gives when it can be assured of getting something in return. We humbly repent and ask You to help us love others without condition. As You have loved us generously, let us generously love one another. In Your Name – the Name above all names – we pray. Amen. 

Read: Ephesians 5:1-2; 1 Peter 4:8; 1 Corinthians 13:1-3; 1 John 4:11 

Weekly Memory Verse: “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:44-45a, NIV