Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Honor or Humiliation?

For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Luke 14:11).

After healing the man with dropsy, Jesus proceeded into the dining room of the Pharisee’s house. He noticed that the guests were scrambling to get the most honorable seats at the table, so He gave them some advice. “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 man 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 your fellow guests” (Luke 14:7–10).

Jesus is not divulging a political strategy here on how to win the highest place for ourselves. Rather, He is stressing the point that honor cannot be attained by human action nor can it be snatched from God. Honor is bestowed by God. Moreover, if you try to seize honor, you will face humiliation.

Jesus has the kingdom of God in view. Don’t grasp for a position of honor in the kingdom, because maybe God has reserved that place for someone better suited. Rather, seek humble service in the kingdom, and if God wants you to have a more influential position, He will grant it to you.

Jesus concludes that whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. There is nothing wrong with honor and exaltation. These are rich and meaningful human experiences, and we are commanded in the Bible to give honor to rulers, parents, elders, the brethren, and, most importantly, to God. Our heavenly Father promises that each of us shall participate in the glorious exaltation of Christ. But if we seek exaltation for ourselves and by ourselves, we will be disgraced.

James 3:16 says selfish ambition is one of the greatest causes of disorder in the church and in society. Take an honest look at your goals and motives, in your church and in your community. Is it possible that you are guilty of selfish ambition? Find where in your life you need to take the lowest seat.