January 21, 2019
“When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up to a better place.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all the other guests. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
(Luke 14:8-11 NIV)
“The key to success is sincerity. Once you can fake that, you’ve got it made.” It’s an old line from my misspent youth. Jesus seems to be saying something similar about humility – but he’s not saying to fake it, just make it a normal part of our thinking and practice.
It is nice to be moved up to the better seats at a dinner, theatre, dinner or plane – but scrambling for the good ones is dangerous. Now Jesus is not into seating plans, but he is observant of human behaviour. He was being scrutinized and questioned at every turn, but the scrutiny went both ways – he was watching his observers.
One aspect of humility is actually quite practical. Disciplining our need for self-promotion is quite liberating. Being invited to lead, advise, speak, consult or direct is empowering both for us and for those who engage with us.
A Prayer for Today
Loving God, you must smile at our scrambling for position and prominence in our world. Your Son taught us to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves, yet we easily fall into self-promotion and feeding our need to be the centre of attention. From the need to scramble to the top, deliver me. …. For Jesus’ sake