Scripture: Luke 14:1, 7-11 (alternate reading: John 6:37-40)
1 One sabbath when he went to dine at the house of a ruler who belonged to the Pharisees, they were watching him. 7 Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he marked how they chose the places of honor, saying to them, 8 "When you are invited by any one to a marriage feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest a more eminent man than you be invited by him; 9 and he who invited you both will come and say to you, `Give place to this man,' and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. 10 But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, `Friend, go up higher'; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. 11 For every one who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."
Meditation: Who wants to be last? Isn't it only natural to desire respect and esteem from others? Jesus' parable of the guests invited to the marriage feast probes our motives for seeking honor and position. Self-promotion is most often achieved at the expense of others! Jesus' parable reinforces the teaching of Proverbs: Do not put yourself forward in the king's presence or stand in the place of the great; for it is better to be told, "Come up here," than to be put lower in the presence of the prince (Proverbs 25:6-7).
What is true humility and why should we make it a characteristic mark of our life and action? True humility is not feeling bad about yourself, or having a low opinion of yourself, or thinking of yourself as inferior to others. True humility frees us from preoccupation with ourselves, whereas a low self-opinion tends to focus our attention on ourselves. Humility is truth in self-understanding and truth in action. Viewing ourselves truthfully, with sober judgment, means seeing ourselves the way God sees us (Psalm 139:1-4). A humble person makes a realistic assessment of himself or herself without illusion or pretense to be something he or she is not. The humble regard themselves neither smaller nor larger than they truly are. True humility frees us to be our true selves and to avoid despair and pride. A humble person does not have to wear a mask or put on a facade in order to look good to others, especially to those who are not really familiar with that person. The humble are not swayed by accidentals, such as fame, reputation, success, or failure.
Humility is the queen or foundation of all the other virtues because it enables us to view and judge ourselves correctly, the way God sees us. Humility leads to true self-knowledge, honesty, realism, strength, and dedication to give ourselves to something greater than ourselves. Humility frees us to love and serve others selflessly, for their sake, rather than our own. Paul the Apostles, gives us the greatest example and model of humility in the person of Jesus Christ, who emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, ...who humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross (Philippians 2:7-8). The Lord Jesus gives grace to those who seek him humbly. Do you want to be a servant as Jesus served?
"Lord Jesus, you became a servant for my sake to set me free from the tyranny of sin, selfishness, and conceit. Help me to be humble as you are humble and to love freely and graciously all whom you call me to serve."
1 As a hart longs for flowing streams, so longs my soul for you, O God.
2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and behold the face of God?
3 My tears have been my food day and night, while men say to me continually, "Where is your God?"
4 These things I remember, as I pour out my soul: how I went with the throng, and led them in procession to the house of God, with glad shouts and songs of thanksgiving, a multitude keeping festival.