May 14, 2012

Humbling yourself

May 13, 2012 (no computer, posted May 14)

A prominent leader in a church we once attended always sat in the back row for meetings and any church activities. Once I asked him why he did that. He said that it was in obedience to the Lord’s command to take the lowest place.
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. (Luke 14:8–11)
This weekend, we drove four hours south to join family in celebrating my sister’s fiftieth wedding anniversary. She and her husband have lived in the same community for most of their married lives. She owned a store there for more than half of that time. She is also a well-known artist. Many friends came to wish them well. As her sister, I felt good being able to sit with her.

When I read these verses, I thought of the many times that I’ve had opportunity to sit with prominent people. Sometimes it was not my choice; they came and sat with me, but the idea of humbling myself to take the lowest place is not my usual choice. 

The other conviction for the weekend was sitting in my sister’s Bible class on Sunday morning. She is teaching material that I wrote! As we discussed the topic for the day, I realized once again that it is easy to write questions and give admonition to live in a godly way. It is much more difficult to actually do what I tell others we must do. 

My ‘for instance’ is this whole matter of humbling yourself. I continually wonder how we are supposed to do that and it never occurs to me to take the lowest place. Whenever I’ve opportunity to sit in a place of honor, I will take it. Oh my, I have so much to learn.

Jesus, You were willing to take the lowest place that I might be forgiven and live forever. Yet I don’t even think of doing that, showing me that I am far from being like You. Forgive my pride. Remind me that I have a choice when it comes to where I sit and how I place myself alongside others.

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