So He told a parable to those who were invited, when He noted how they chose the best places, saying to them: “When you are invited by anyone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in the best place, lest one more honorable than you be invited by him; and he who invited you and him come and say to you, ‘Give place to this man,’ and then you begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit down in the lowest place, so that when he who invited you comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, go up higher.’ Then you will have glory in the presence of those who sit at the table with you. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 14:7-11)
Seeking The Best Seats
Benjamin Franklin said of pride, “To be proud of virtue is to poison yourself with the antidote.” One of the hardest lessons for men to learn is they are created out of dust and exalting self-opinion, and worth above all others is finding nothing more than sanctified dust. The creation of the world should remind man the mosquito was created before him. Pride is an insidious disease that fills the heart of man with seeds of self-destruction. The angels are amused that man seeks to exalt himself above his station. Reinhold Niebuhr remarked, “Man falls into pride when he seeks to raise his contingent existence to unconditional significance.” Jesus warned against a prideful heart and taught His disciples a timely parable when He observed how men sought the best seats.
It is an honorable thing to be invited to a wedding feast. The festivities surrounding the bride and groom and the happiness of their union is enjoyed by so many. All the preparations are made for a great feast, and invitations are sent. People arrive to enjoy the marriage occasion, but pride fills the heart when men seek the best seats in the house without being asked. Immediately arriving at the feast, men would go up the best seats in the house with a proud and arrogant stride. Then, a man of great honor arrives, and the host comes and asks the man sitting in the best seat to step down and give his seat to the other man. Shame fills the heart of the presumptuous guest, and his disgrace humbles him. Pride has a way of exalting shame in the heart and actions of those induced by its charm.
Jesus warns against pride. He said it would be better to arrive at the feast and seek the lower seats so that the host may come and ask the man to sit at a higher place in time. Instead of pride bringing shame at the man’s arrogance, glory is shown for the one seeking the lower place first and then exalted before others. Pride begins with presumption. Humility starts with servitude. Seeking to elevate self above others will end in shame. Having a humble heart will be rewarded with glory. Pride seeks the exaltation of self. Humility begins with a lowly spirit and remains until called. The heart of a servant knows his place before all men and does not try to exalt above measure his worth.
There is no one greater than God, so what value is there for a man to fill himself with pride? Nothing that a man will accomplish will compare to the universe of God’s power. When humanity sought to build a tower to the heavens in the plain of the land of Shinar, the Lord confused the languages and forever established the habitation of man. Nations rise and fall at the will of the Lord. History is filled with the bones of tyrants and despots who sought to rule the world and lost everything. Wealth did not keep men from dying. The pride of human wisdom is an exercise in futility. Humility is the greatest attribute a man can possess, for he knows he is nothing more than an unprofitable servant. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, humbled Himself in obedience to the Father.