Summary: Christians have humility and charity flowing through their veins. This is what makes them different.
Mike was the kind of person who “walked to the beat of a different drummer.” You could see that at his place of work. Most of the people there had a very pushy, “me-first” attitude. “You’re going to have to look our for yourself here,” he was told, when he was hired. “In this company, you have to push yourself forward, sometimes step on other people, if you want to advance.” That’s how most people were, at his company. But Mike walked to the beat of a different drummer. He worked hard, and he did good work. But instead of having a pushy, “me-first” approach to things, he was humble. Sometimes he got stepped on because of his humility. Sometimes people took advantage of him. But he seemed to be at peace with all that. He was humble. And things went alright for him. He did find for himself. He was someone who “walked to the beat of a different drummer.” He had humility flowing through his veins.
Or, take Elizabeth. She was different too. She was unusually nice to other people. She was always going out of her way to help people, sometimes total strangers. She babysat for people. She volunteered. Once when she was standing in line at the store, a lady in front of her didn’t have enough money for her groceries, and so Elizabeth jumped in and made up the difference. Most of the time, Elizabeth got nothing in return for her generosity. But she seemed to be at peace with all that. She was someone who walked to the beat of a different drummer. She had charity flowing through her veins.
What is that, that can make a person be so humble, or so charitable? Jesus talks about that something in our Gospel lesson for this morning. It was the Sabbath, and one of the Pharisees, one of the head teachers, invited Jesus over to dinner after the Sabbath service. This Pharisee wasn’t being nice to Jesus – he invited him over because he and the other Pharisees wanted to watch Jesus and see if he would do something wrong, so they have arrest him.
The house was packed, and the time came for everyone to sit down at the table. Have you ever seen what happens on the first day of school, when students enter a classroom? Often times there’s a mad-rush for the back seats – people are diving and elbowing each other. That’s what Jesus saw at the house of the Pharisee – these grown-ups were trying to get the best seat – it was very much a “me-first” atmosphere.
Jesus noticed this, and so he told them this parable. He told them that when someone invites you to a banquet, don’t show up with a “me-first” attitude. Don’t rush to sit in the best seat. What happens if someone more prominent than you shows up, and then the host has to tell you to get up and move to a lower seat? You’d look foolish in front of all those people. Instead, when you’re invited to a banquet, be humble. Take the lowest seat. And then the host will say to you, “Friend, move up to a better place,” and you’ll be honored in front of all the other guests.