2 Samuel 1-2 Luke 14:1-24
“All who make themselves great will be made humble, but those who make themselves humble will be made great.” (Luke 14: 11 NCV)
I don’t know what kind of meal Jesus was attending when He saw the mad scramble for the best seats in the house, but He used that situation to teach an important lesson: stay back, be humble. His illustration was perfect and anyone who’s planned a wedding banquet then or now would understand the problem. Seating arrangements are worked out meticulously. “Uncle Bob can’t be seated anywhere near Cousin Lucy’s family because they don’t get along. If we place your boss at this table, we need to make sure we place my boss at a table equally as close or else I’ll get in trouble.” Thinking of these kinds of arrangements, Jesus tells the story of a guy who wanders into the wedding feast without looking at the name cards nor at the reserved seating signs and sits as close to the bride as possible, only to be embarrassed when the host calls him out because he took the seat of someone more important. By the time that happened, all the good general admission seating had been taken and the only seat left was in the back row by the air conditioner which was blowing full blast.
I know, Jesus didn’t mention the air conditioner issue. The point is that this guy tried to make himself look important, and he got a figurative kick in the teeth when the host moved him from that important seat. When someone tells you, “sorry, you’re not important enough” for any reason, it hurts. That may be why we don’t like waiting in line – my time is more important than to spend it waiting in line. What about when you arrive the required 15 minutes early for your doctor’s appointment only to be kept waiting an hour past appointment time. We all know what happens if we’re late for our appointment. We don’t like that because we’re treated as though we, and our time, is unimportant. Jesus’s suggestion to deal with situations like that: take the lowest seat at the wedding banquet. Let the host see you there and make a big deal about how you should be seated in a more important place. In short, don’t honor yourself, let others give you honor. When Jesus tells a story like this, He’s usually thinking of our relationship with God. How do we approach God? Do we want to make sure that He knows how great we are, or do we want to approach Him humbly? Jesus told another story about two people that went to pray: the important Pharisee and the unimportant publican. The Pharisee reminded God how great he was as he took a seat at the head table. The publican reminded God how great He was as he hoped for scraps. God exalted the publican and humbled the Pharisee. The key to this isn’t that we humble ourselves to be exalted, it’s that we humble ourselves because we recognize who we are in relationship to God. When we realize how great our sin is and what God did to bring forgiveness, the only way to approach him is in grateful humility.
Lord, it’s in my nature to want the most important places wherever I go. When I begin to seek them, remind me of what You did to bring me salvation. Let me walk in humility and may my life exalt and glorify You.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.