Jesus takes ordinary situations and makes extraordinary points that relate to the Kingdom. He would take the questions or situations where the Pharisees or others tried to make Him slip up and sternly teach them the error of their ways. This teaching has to do with humility and exaltation.
The Parable of the Wedding Feast
7 Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he noticed how they chose the places of honor, saying to them, 8 “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, 9 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. 10 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.” Luke 14:7-11
What is Jesus telling us in this Parable? Do not be like the Pharisees who think themselves worthy when they are not. The truly penitent will pass by the Pharisee and be welcomed first. Those that go through their life thinking that they have done everything right forgetting their lack of having a repentant heart and should enter first into the Kingdom will be given the back seat to the truly repentant that did their very best but have one thing that the others do not, true faith and trust. For on this earth they were weary and heavy laden. God may have blessed them with things other than money because of their desire to stay out of the world.
Where Do You Sit in Church?
How many people do you know in church that intentionally sit in the back of the church? Are they hoping to be exalted? Or are they the first to make a quick exit to make it to lunch before the rush? In fact, if you look into just about any Baptist Church you will find that many of the front pews are empty while the back is completely full. When a guest comes in and sits where a member always sits and the said member sees it there are two common reactions. The humble member will find another spot while the zealous will demand they find another place to sit. What does that tell the pastor? There is a need for reminding all that your place in the church pew does not matter, it is a matter of the heart and Spiritual fitness.
Now the ones that sit near the front understand that they need to hear the message and are not afraid of being convicted and yet some are still afraid of approaching the altar. Remember, the Father knows our hearts and will guide us. It really does not matter where you sit in the place of worship as long as your heart is focused on God and not the self or things of the world. Are you in the front and receiving the Word, or in the back waiting for lunch?
We have been given an open invitation by God’s Grace and Mercy to sit at the table. It is how we prepare ourselves on earth for the heavenly feast that will dictate our place. You have a better chance for entering if you have repented, accepted, and put your full faith and trust in Christ, and do your very best to follow His Commandments and His Way, remembering that we are not perfect and will make mistakes. It is better this than the alternative, saying that you have Jesus and that is enough and or forgetting that you are still a sinner and think you are better than everyone else. The latter will be waiting a while if they make it at all. We are to walk in humility, our pride is in the work that the Father does in our lives.
First or Last
Being first in line on this earth gets you the first helpings in the lunch line which some people desire. But what many forget is that sometimes the staff brings out the best food after the first things are gone. Those that wait are blessed with fresh, hot food while the first do not really know how long the food was sitting out. There is an order which many circles follow in which the leader goes last even though many will push the leader forward. The humble servant leader will wait away from the line until all have been served and take what he/she needs of what is left.
What Are We To Do?
In all things be humble, do not try to push your way forward nor jump to get the first fruits. When sitting in the place of worship, place yourself where the Spirit leads your heart. There is no need for sitting in the same place every week even though that is what happens. If you are given a place of honor, accept it in humility and let others exalt you if they so choose. Take care not to exalt yourself in the hopes that others will give you praise for that is vanity but accept praise with a humble heart and give the glory to the Father.
Brothers and Sisters, serve others before the self and follow the Word keeping it on your heart always. Be blessed as we begin a new week. Share your faith in everything you do.