Summary: This is about the parable of the guys fighting over the good seats.
Let me tell you a story…
The governor’s daughter was getting married. The governor had planned an elaborate wedding and reception. The reception was more than cake and punch. It was a seven-course meal. The governor rented a massive hall in which they would have the reception.
The governor, who was quite popular having been involved in government and politics for a number of years, made a lengthy guest list. Mayors from all over the state were invited, along with senators, congressmen, judges, and even former presidents. Dignitaries would be there like never before.
The governor carefully planned the seating arrangements. With the amount of officials and dignitaries there, egos could easily be bruised if the pecking order wasn’t followed closely. It proved to be a little difficult as the wedding approached, as some who said they could come backed out. Others didn’t respond until the last minute.
As the reception was beginning the name cards got all messed up. It was confusing, but everyone had a good idea where to sit.
The mayor of capitol city was in attendance. In all the confusion, he saw an opportunity to get close to the governor. After all, the governor would not be seeking another term. The mayor thought it would be a great chance to schmooze the governor and get his personal endorsement to be the next governor. He pushed his way through the crowd and slid into the chair right next to the governor. Just as the mayor was ready to chat up the governor, a former president came into the room. The governor had been a cabinet member during the administration of the former president. The governor jumped to his feet to greet the former president.
The mayor glanced around. All the other seats were now taken. The governor asked the mayor to move so the former president could sit there. With everyone looking on, the mayor, red-faced, slipped to the other side of the hall and sat down at the table with all the kids. (That is the equivalent of sitting at the card table with the kids at Thanksgiving dinner.)
What had begun as a political power play by the mayor of capitol city turned into a colossal embarrassment for him.
Can you imagine what the mayor was feeling? The mayor capitol city was a very honored guest, but an even more honored guest in a former president displaced him.
There was also something else going on at the reception that went virtually unnoticed. The mayor of a small town also came. He had known the governor while they were both in college. The small town mayor, though, knew his place in the political hierarchy. He knew he was not a big player. He sat down with the less distinguished guests.
Before everyone else had taken their seats, the governor noticed his old friend sitting in the corner. The governor rushed over to him and said, “Old friend, why are you sitting here? Come with me.” The governor ushered him to the seat next to where the mayor of capitol city was sitting. (This all occurred before the former president came in.) As the events with the mayor of capitol city unfolded, the small town mayor watched in astonishment as the former president was seated next to him.
Can you imagine what the small town mayor was feeling? Because of his humility, the small town mayor was ushered to a seat of very great honor.
Read Luke 14:7-11.
The story that Jesus told was based on a Proverb.
Read Proverbs 25:6, 7.
What does all this mean?
Is this just a lesson on table manners?
What implication does this have on our lives?
All of this contradicts what values we often hold. We value the pushy politician who climbs the ladder on the backs of the little guy. We value people who are assertive. Seminars are held to help people who are assertive. How many seminars have you seen to help people be humble? “Come to the Humble Seminar and learn how to be more humble.” I did a search on the Internet for “humble seminar” and “humility seminar” and got nothing. Do a search on “assertiveness seminar” and you get all kinds of hits.
Humble, self-effacing people are seen as weak. They are often trampled by upwardly mobile people. Though, as one author points out: “Humility is not cowardice.”
Humility comes from the realization that we can’t do it on our own. We can’t save ourselves.
Is this saying that acting humble will get us the seat of honor or whatever we want? No. Acting humble, or even being humble, is not a shortcut to glory.
I remember the story of a man. This man was given a medal because of his humility. Later, it was taken away because he wore it everywhere he went.