Friday, May 2, 2014

Best Seat in the House Part V

Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he noticed how they chose the places of honor, saying to them, "When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you be invited by him, and he who invited you both will come and say to you, 'Give your place to this person,' and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. 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.” Luke 14:7-10 ESV

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 NOT the Lazy Seat.
Whales really do communicate with each other. I know that because one day a whale sounded the following caution to his mate in whines and clicks: "Better watch it; when you get to the top and start to blow, that's when you get harpooned!"

In all this, it might be tempting to some to say, "Well, Jesus is saying that climbing the ladder of success is not what I’m supposed to do, then I’ll just settle back and sit on the bottom and never aspire to be all I can be.”  That kind of laziness is not what Jesus is teaching here. He isn’t condemning progress or moving up. He’s teaching against our natural tendencies toward arrogance and making out like we’re more than we really are.

Paul said in Romans 12:3, "I say to every man among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment…"

There is nothing wrong with working hard to move up. Just let others do the promoting. Don’t do it yourself.  Let your works speak well of you, not your mouth.  Jesus isn’t condoning laziness here.  This isn’t a verse for slackers.

God wants us to get a return on what we’ve been given.  This passage in Luke isn’t condoning laziness or lack of initiative.  It’s speaking of our means of progress.  Want to go to the top? Head for the bottom!  You see starting at the bottom allows us to progress naturally, at the speed of our true abilities.  Starting at the top puts us into a position where we must constantly try to be what we are not by lying and deceit and misrepresentation and the humiliation of others.
What happens when, in our arrogance and self importance, we suddenly get a glimpse of Jesus, the Son of God from Philippians 2? 

Scripture to Claim:

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:3-11

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