Summary: Christians have humility and charity flowing through their veins. This is what makes them different.
Luke 14:1, 7-14 CHRISTIANS “WALK TO THE BEAT OF A DIFFERENT DRUMMER.”
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.
Do you know what the main point of that story is? Look at verse 11: “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Jesus isn’t just talking about table manners here. He’s talking about our relationship with God. Everyone who is proud before God, who thinks he is better than every body else before God, who exalts himself – God will someday humble that person. Sometimes that happens here in this world. It will happen for sure, in the world to come. But the one who is humble before God, who realizes that he’s not any better than anyone else, who believes that he’s just a lowly sinner, and humbly humbly trusts in Jesus Christ for forgiveness – that person, Jesus says, will be exalted by God. Sometimes that happens here, in this world. It will happen for sure, in the world to come. Do you have that kind of humility running through your veins?
After talking to the crowd about humility, Jesus turned to the host, and said to him, when you give a luncheon or a dinner, don’t always invite just your rich friends, or your relatives. They’ll pay you back, and you’ll get your reward, that’s true. But when you put on a luncheon – invite people who can’t pay you back – the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind. They won’t be able to pay you back, but you will be blessed. God will pay you back, at the resurrection of the righteous.