Christians are people who have given up their right to live for themselves. We have been crucified with Christ.
6 Do not exalt yourself in the king’s presence,
and do not claim a place among his great men;
7 it is better for him to say to you, “Come up here,”
than for him to humiliate you before his nobles.
Exalting ourselves doesn’t help anyone. It doesn’t help God because we become unusable in His hands; we are like clay that is lumpy or has become too hard. It doesn’t help those around us because we become difficult to be around; our arrogance and/or bitterness makes us unpalatable. It doesn’t help us because we become myopic; we can’t see anything or anyone beyond ourselves.
Jesus used this very passage as a teaching tool in Luke 14:7-11,
7 When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: 8 “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. 9 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. 10 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. 11 For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
What, then, should we do? We should wait. Before making any rash decisions, we should wait on the Holy Spirit to direct us. In order to wait, we must wade through our initial reaction and feelings, understanding that they are exactly that: a reaction by the natural part of us, the part to which we have died. What part of the following verse do we not understand?
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. This life I now live in the body I live by faith in the Son of God, who loves me and gave Himself for me. Galatians 2:20
How do we live by faith?
- We trust the LORD to show us where to sit and with whom;
- If the host moves us up, then we go.
- If we are left where we are, then we minister to those around us. There is obviously a reason for us to be there.
- Trusting Jesus in every circumstance is key.
Do we get to skip the feelings of envy, the sting of unfairness, or the stench of prejudice of sitting with people “beneath us?” Nope. But, we DO get to process them through the Holy Spirit. We acknowledge them and then give them to Him. He takes them and transforms them into compassion and patience, even love.
It has been my experience that the conversation and camaraderie shared at the lower end of the banquet table is preferred to the other end of the table, where one has to watch what one says and how he says it, and has to do everything just so. We can learn things at the servants’ end of the table that we would never have learned at the upper end!
Living for Christ takes attitude. Just make sure it’s the RIGHT attitude: Humility.
Abba, I’m preaching to myself right here. I can get pretty put out with people. I know: I have unrealistic expectations. We are all struggling in a sinful world in sinful bodies with sinful minds, which is why You want us to put off the old and put on the new. Help me to do just that, O LORD. I want to put off my old self and my old way of thinking and put on the new self, which has been created to be like You in true righteousness and holiness. I want to be just like You, Jesus. Amen