Thursday, May 1, 2014

Best Seat in the House Part IV

When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: "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.” Luke 14:7-10  NIV

What Jesus is teaching here is the opposite of nearly everything we hear today about success. 
It is not easy advice easy to take, because according to Jesus…

1.    The Best Seat in the House is the Least Desired Seat.
Most of us would rather take a shortcut to the top. The trouble with that, if we do, we avoid all of life’s lessons along the way.  We want the graduating tassel without the necessary hassle.  The trip from the bottom, through the school of hard knocks and common tasks, isn’t desired.

Dave Thomas, founder of the Wendy’s Restaurant chain, illustrates the learning value of humility in his book WELL DONE: THE COMMON GUY’S GUIDE TO EVERYDAY SUCCESS. He writes, "I got my MBA long before my G.E.D." (Dave, of course, never graduated from high school.) He continues, "I even have a photograph of me in my MBA graduation outfit -- a snazzy knee-length work apron. I guarantee you that I'm the only founder among America's big companies whose picture in the corporate annual report shows him wielding a mop and a plastic bucket. That wasn't a gag" he continues. "It was a case of leading by example. At Wendy's, MBA does not mean Master of Business Administration. It means Mop Bucket Attitude. It's how we define satisfying the customer through cleanliness, quality food, friendly service, and atmosphere." 2

Oh, that we could find more of that MBA attitude in the church!  No, you don’t necessarily have to wield a physical mop to show you have it.  There are plenty of other things that will get you your MBA.  There’s a widow or divorcee over there with five little kids. She’s going nuts trying to be both mom and dad.  Want to get your spiritual MBA?  Go over there and help her with one or two of the kids.  Go spend your Saturdays with one of those kids for the next three years. Be a mentor to him/her.

There’s an elderly person who cannot get around anymore.  He’s lonely and distraught.  Want to get your MBA?  Go over and spend the day with him.  Let him talk.  Talk to him.  Do it once or twice a month.

People often come to me and say, "I want to do something in the church." I admire that attitude. We need more of it.  But is it necessary to come to me to find something to do?  Look around you.  What needs "mopping?"  Figure it out and go do it.  If you can’t find anything, perhaps you’re not looking low enough!  Sometimes it looks like there is nothing to do in the church because we only want to do things that get recognized by others.  Are we any different than those jockeying for seats in Jesus’ parable?

Start humbly. God will move you up. Start arrogantly. God will move you down. The best seat in the house is the learning seat. Go get your spiritual MBA!

Scripture to Claim:
You save the humble but bring low those whose eyes are haughty. Psalms 18:27 

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