Do you get invited to dinners and banquets? Sometimes, right? Well, today we learn some etiquette from Jesus when it comes to banquets and parties. The bottom line is that we should exemplify the humility of Jesus when we are tempted to think we are important.
1 One Sabbath, when Jesus went to eat in the house of a prominent Pharisee, he was being carefully watched.
7 When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable: 8 “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. 9 If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. 10 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 the other guests. 11 For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Luke 14:1, 7-11
Jesus went to a dinner party in the home of a religious leader – they were all watching him to see what he would do and what he would say. Jesus used the opportunity to tell three parables of dinner parties. Let’s consider this to be the Messiah’s Finishing School as we learn the etiquette of parties and banquets.
When you receive such an invitation, our first lesson is to assume that there will be more honourable guests than us. Jesus says don’t go in and take a place of honour. If you do, you might be told that someone is there who is more important and you have to give up your seat. How fun would that be?
Rather, assume you are less important than others and take a seat in the back. If the host would like to honour you by offering you a better seat, they will do that. They don’t need to honour you. They aren’t obligated to, right? Or are you that important?
Sometimes our self-importance exceeds our social status. Think about Jesus and perhaps we’ll be able get ourselves into our right minds. Jesus was on our earth as the God of the universe, and in his human form Jesus humbled himself to not consider equally with God something to hold onto (Philippians 2). Jesus became our servant to the point of dying for us, and then was exalted by the Father to sit at the right hand of God in heaven (Mark 16:19, Acts 2:33).
Be humble like Jesus when you are invited to a banquet. And in life, take the humble positions so that you can be lifted up to greater status on occasion. It isn’t our right and we are not entitled…