Summary: Jesus tells us to give up the seat of honour so His grace can flow through our humility
Jesus Never Called Shotgun
Luke 14:1-14 Jan 20th, 2008
I have to confess that when I hear someone call “shotgun” it gets my hackles up a bit. When they say shotgun I hear “me; me; me.” It reminds me of when our kids were young I would tell them not to say “I’m the king of the castle and you’re the dirty rascal.” It seemed so unChristlike to me and I would tell them that we are all dirty rascals.
On a website called shotgunrules.com I found the official rules for calling shotgun. Here’s a couple of the highlights.
Section I - General Rules
1) The first person to yell "SHOTGUN" gets to ride in the front seat.
3) The word "shotgun" must be loud enough to be heard by at least one witness. If no witness is to be found, or in case of a tie, the driver has the final word.
4) Early calls are strictly prohibited. All occupants of the vehicle (including the driver) must be outside of the building and directly on the way to the vehicle before shotgun may be called. Under no circumstances may a person call shotgun inside a building. For sake of simplicity, a garage is considered to be outside. Parking structures and detached garages are always considered as being outdoors, even if they are underground.
5) A person may only call shotgun for one way of a trip. Shotgun can never be called while inside a vehicle or still technically on the way to the first location. For example, one can not get out of a vehicle and call Shotgun for the return journey.
6) Being as how everyone is created equal, men have the same right as women to the front seat of the car. i.e. women don’t own the front seat.
7) One is allowed to ride shotgun as many times as he can call it, but for himself only. No one can call shotgun for their slower friend, unless the friend has a speech or mental handicap that prevents them from calling it for themselves.
8) The driver has final say in all ties and disputes. The driver has the right to suspend or remove all shotgun privileges from one or more persons.
Section II - Special Cases
These all seem to be rules about being drunk or sick or obese.
Section III - The Survival Of The Fittest Rules
1) If the driver so wishes, he/she may institute the Survival Of The Fittest Rules on the process of calling Shotgun. In this case all rules, excepting 1.8, are suspended and the passenger seat is occupied by whoever can take it by force.
2) The driver must announce the institution of the Survival Of The Fittest Rules with reasonable warning to all passengers. This clause reduces the amount of blood lost by passengers and the damage done to the vehicle.
Jesus has just 1 rule for calling shotgun: Don’t do it. Just don’t do it - do not seek the seat of honour. Jesus never called shotgun and He instructs us to “take a back seat”.
Luk 14:7-14 Jesus noticed how some of the guests were choosing the best places, so he told this parable to all of them: (8) "When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not sit down in the best place.
When you are organizing a wedding there is a lot to think about. One of the things you MUST do is have assigned seating. That’s because usually right after the ceremony the wedding “party” has to go to the park for the pictures. While they are there the rest of the guests make their way over to the reception hall to await their arrival. If you don’t have name tags on the table the riff raff of the family will fill up the front of the hall and the wedding party and the immediate family will have to sit at the back. And in some families, even with place names, it is actually a good idea to have a security guard posted because they might come and start rearranging the name tags when no one is looking.
What does it say about human nature that wherever we go – at least when we are excited about being there – we want to sit as close to centre court, first base line, front row, 50 yard line and park next to the entrance, and it doesn’t matter who we inconvenience? It says I’m looking out for numero uno. If a crippled old person comes after me – tough! If a school bus full of blind mute children come to the concert and can’t find a place to sit – that’s their problem.
Jesus was at a wedding and He was watching people. He saw that people were clamoring for the best seats and He says, “wait – everybody – be quiet and listen to me. I don’t like what you are doing.”