"Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." Luke 14:11
When there is an official dinner for government heads or their representatives the guests are seated according to rank. It would not only be an infringement on established protocol, but folly as well for someone to occupy a high place by his own choice. He would run the risk of being demoted and thus lose face with the assembly.
Jesus, once a guest in the home of a prominent Pharisee, noted how the pride-prone guests sought out places of honor for themselves at the table. It drew from Him a parable with this good advice: “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. If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you ‘Give this man your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. 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 your fellow guests” (Luke 14:8-10).
Our Lord’s major concern is not proper table manners but the virtue, or fruit of faith, underlying good behavior in general: humility. The pride displayed among people is often a symptom of pride before God. That is shown to us by the Pharisee praying in the temple: “God, I thank You that I am not like other men” (Luke 18:11). He recites his good deeds: fasting and tithing.
Before God, none can be declared just on the basis of good works or excellence of character. We are acceptable to God only if we take off the spotted garment of the flesh and of our own righteousness and are, by faith, adorned with the merit credited to us because of Christ’s shed blood. Trust in Jesus Christ makes for true humility – the kind that exalts.
PRAYER: O Holy Spirit, work in me the fruit of humility that exalts Christ Jesus, to whom all glory and honor belong. Amen.
(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)
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