“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. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.’” Luke 14:7-11
It is often said that you have to look out for number one.
Have you ever heard that? Somehow, we have gotten the idea that pushing ourselves forward to the highest position, even if we have to trample on people to get there, is the way to live. We have to take care of ourselves. Advertisers use this philosophy to peddle their products. You deserve…, Happiness is yours if…, Your life will be enhanced when…, and on and on. It feeds the idea that we deserve to be happy and we deserve to have the best.
But is that what the Bible says?
Jesus told a story about a wedding feast. People were invited and when the time came to enter many of them rushed in to take the places of honor. Evidently there were the good seats, the okay seats, and the nosebleed section (and no one wanted those).
But what He told them was that those rushing in to take the best places were often asked to move and what was then available was not good. It shamed those who had to change places.
Jesus told the listening audience something that might have seemed foreign to them. It might seem foreign to us. If you want to be honored, be humble. Because if you try to exalt yourself you will be humbled, but if you humble yourself you will be exalted. So, take the least important seat and then the host will ask you to move up.
Does it seem upside down? If you want to be first, be last. If you want to be blessed, bless others. If you want to receive, give.
Happiness is what the world strives for. Our goal should not be to be happy. Our goal should be to be obedient to God. What comes from that is blessing. The blessing of God is WAY better than trying to be happy.
“Look out for number one.” Perhaps what we should say is, “Look at Jesus, the true number One, and do what He says.”