Monday, April 28, 2014

The Best Seat in the House

And He began speaking a parable to the invited guests when He noticed how they had been picking out the places of honor at the table, saying to them, "When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for someone more distinguished than you may have been invited by him, and he who invited you both will come and say to you, 'Give your place to this man,' and then in disgrace you proceed to occupy the last place. But when you are invited, go and recline at the last place, so that when the one who has invited you comes, he may say to you, 'Friend, move up higher'; then you will have honor in the sight of all who are at the table with you. "For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." Luke 14:7-11  NASB

It is human nature to want to sit in the best seat in the house.  At sporting events it’s the skybox seat, or the seat on the fifty-yard line or the seat directly behind home plate. These places command the best view and the highest price.  They also carry the greatest bragging potential. ("I have bottom deck, front row seats to tonight’s game!" "Wow! How’d you get so lucky!?")

This desire for the best seat in the house shows up in many places.  Watch people in a parking lot sometime.  The best parking places are usually the ones closest to the front door.  I’ve seen people nearly collide, competing for that one open spot near the door!  The spaces way out on the other end of the lot are seldom taken unless the lot is full or employees are required to park in them.

At a concert, the best seat in the house is probably the one closest to the musicians. Maybe and even better one might be a backstage seat where you get to meet the performers.  When you have a guest to your house and invite them to sit down, don’t you give them the best seat?  If one of your kids is sitting there, you ask him to move.

What do you suppose is the best seat in the church?  The back seat, of course!  I know that because it’s the one that fills up first.  We never have to hang "reserved" signs on the front benches.  Why? Maybe because it’s the farthest seat from the preacher.

Diplomatic negotiating teams spend hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars and many hours getting the seating just right so that visiting dignitaries are afforded proper honor by the placement of their chairs.  A slip here can mean that countries go to war!  People want the best seats…the seats of honor.

I seem to remember two disciples of Jesus named James and John getting into this "best seat" thing when Jesus asked them in Mark 10:36-37, "What do you want Me to do for you?" And they said to Him, "Grant that we may sit in Your glory, one on Your right, and one on Your left."  They (and their mother) wanted the best seats in the kingdom - the places of honor and prestige. It’s a natural thing for the natural man.

Jesus had some specific things to say about the best seat in the house, and it’s what we will consider over the next few days.  It may surprise you to find that Jesus has a different idea about what seats we should look for when invited to a banquet.  And then again, if you know Him, it won’t be a surprise at all.

Scripture to Claim:

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.
 I Peter 5:6

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