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Parable of the Ambitious Guest

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At a reception honoring musician Sir Robert Mayer on his 100th birthday, elderly British socialite Lady Diana Cooper fell into conversation with a friendly woman who seemed to know her well. Lady Diana’s failing eyesight prevented her from recognizing her fellow guest, until sh … More

Humility

Jesus taught two lessons in this passage (vv. 7-14). First He spoke to the guests, telling them not to seek places of honor (vv. 7-11). Service is more important in God’s kingdom than status. Second, he told the host not to be exclusive about whom he invites (vv. 12-14). It is so easy in life to place more emphasis on reputation than on character. Just as it was in this passage, it can seem more important to us to be recognized by the right people than to live the right kind of life.

What Jesus observes in this Pharisees’ house reveals a wrong attitude, so he gives a parable concerning it. In New Testament times, the closer you sat to the host, the higher you stood on the social ladder, and the more attention you would receive from others. We need to realize that God is not impressed by our status in society or in the church. He is not influenced by what people say or think about us, because He sees the thoughts and motives of the heart (I Samuel 16:7). Some people try to give the appearance of humility in order to manipulate others. Humility is not self-degradation; it is the realistic assessment and commitment to serve.

Jesus spoke to the host, telling him that if he would invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind and people who could never repay him, he would be showing that he was ministering to them for the Lord’s sake and not his own (vv. 12-14). This does not mean that we should never invite our family or friends to our homes for hospitality. He is simply warning us against entertaining only family and friends exclusively. God opens His kingdom to everyone.

Application

I should never try to impress people but look for a place where I can serve. If God wants me to serve on a wider scale, He will arrange for me to have a place of higher position.

Luke 14:7-14 (English Standard Version)

Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he noticed how they chose the places of honor, saying to them, "When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you be invited by him, and he who invited you both will come and say to you, 'Give your place to this person,' and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, 'Friend, move up higher.' Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." He said also to the man who had invited him, "When you give a dinner or a banquet, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbors, lest they also invite you in return and you be repaid. But when you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you. For you will be repaid at the resurrection of the just."

View this passage in NIV (Bible Gateway) »

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