LUKE 14:10-11: “But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. 11 For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
OBSERVATION: I will never forget something that my Father told me regarding accomplishments and position in life. He said – “Son, a fancy title and 10 cents still won’t buy you a cup of coffee.” He told this to me at a time when he had a big title. I will never forget the first time I received a “big title”, it went to my “big head”. I forgot what my Dad had told me and I carried that title like a prize possession. In reality the title only brought more problems and responsibility. It was not long until I understood what my Dad was saying.
Jesus makes this point in His parable about the man invited to a great feast. To long for position and recognition in the crowd could ultimately result in humiliation. Jesus advised his listeners to take the lower seat and then to allow that to turn into honor as the host invites you to a higher seat. Jesus called us to humility. The reality in life is we will either humble ourselves or we will be humiliated.
I will always remember a movie I saw as a boy. It was about an “up and coming” young star who did his first movie and was nominated for an Academy Award. He received such praise and adulation that he was sure he would win it. At the Awards Gala, when his movie category was named, even before the name of the winner was announced, he bolted up to go and receive his prize. But then something extremely awkward took place. As he bolted up he heard the name of one of his colleagues and all he could do was stand before hundreds and begin to clap. His humiliation was evident to all. No one else was standing. I will never forget that image of pride and presumption as long as I live.
What is humility? It is not self depreciation. Jesus did not tell us to beat our chest and cry “unworthy” as we took the lower seat. No, true humility is deference. It is putting the needs of others before our own. It is freely giving to another what is ours, or what could be ours. In taking the lower seat Jesus was calling us to defer to the needs of all. It is this type of humility that Jesus exemplified when He emptied Himself of all His Godly attributes and became a human. Jesus gave up all – for the redemption and benefit of all! It is this type of humility that God greatly honors.
Lord, help me look more to the needs of others rather than to my own needs. May I willingly and joyfully give deference to those in my life. As I do, let me do so with no strings attached, and never as a ploy to get them to do what I want. Freely I have received, humbly and freely let me give. In Jesus Name!