When someone invites you to dinner, don't take the place of honor.
Somebody more important than you might have been invited by the host. Then he'll come and call out in front of everybody, "You're in the wrong place. The place of honor belongs to this man."
Red-faced, you'll have to make your way to the very last table, the only place left.
When you're invited to dinner, go and sit at the last place. Then when the host comes he may very well say, "Friend, come up to the front." That will give the dinner guests something to talk about.
What I'm saying is this, if you walk around with your nose in the air, you're going to end up flat on your face.
But if you're content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself.
Let that sink in for a bit.
I would bet some people are coming to mind.
I would even bet some of your past actions are coming to mind.
Wow. Gee. Eeek.
Those are Jesus's words in Luke 14:8-11 in the Message.
The New American Standard may sound a little more familiar, "For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."
When Jesus tells this story, He's at a dinner party where He's just watched everyone try to elbow their way into the seats of honor.
Can you imagine being Jesus and watching this? I bet he was a little exasperated.
"Come on guys. Seriously? Aren't there more important things to be thinking about than if you get to sit by the host or not?
Just find a place and put your rear in the seat. If the host wants you to sit by him, he'll come and get you himself!"
I was around someone recently who was frustrated because they weren't getting the accolades they thought they deserved.
They were a bit whiney, a bit "But, look at what I've done... look at what I've sacrificed..."
And I just thought, man, if anyone wanted to honor you before, they sure don't now.
I'm not saying it's wrong to simply desire a thank you...
but I'm also saying it can be wrong... if we have the wrong attitude... if we feel entitled... if we try to coax it out of people.
Isn't it so much better to not think, "They should honor me for this." Or, "Someone should really thank me for..."
Because then when the honor or the thanks comes, it's so humbling and overwhelming... because you weren't looking for it!
If we're vying for a position of honor, thinking how much we deserve it, telling those around us, "I really should be sitting there. I mean, they have to notice all that I've..."
It isn't sweet and humbling when we've muscled ourselves in.
And if people get wind of that attitude, they don't so much want to honor you anymore.
That can just be awkward all the way around.
I love that Jesus says, "If you're content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself."
Ahhhhhh... just be yourself.
Just be the you He made you to be.
And He'll turn that into so much more than you can become on your own.
You don't have to worry about position or honor or thanks.
If those things come, well, then they come! But, that's not what we're after.
We're just after being ourselves, and watching Jesus take it and do amazing things with it.
We're not trying to do amazing things so others can go, "Oooohhhh... have the position of honor."
We're not trying to do amazing things so we can be offended when someone doesn't offer us the position of honor.
We're not trying to muscle ourselves into the position of honor so others can see us and say, "Gee, they must be amazing."
We're just trying our best to be who God created us to be and walk in what He's calling us to walk in...
and He'll do the amazing things.
Watching this person in my life recently have an icky stench surrounding their attitude because they weren't getting the "position of honor" they thought they deserved...
well, it's made me realize I've been them.
I'm probably still them.
And I bet I'll be them down the road again, too.
That's our human nature.
But, I think God allowed my eyes to be open to their currently not-pleasing personality aroma to keep me wary of my own.
Oh, LORD!!! Help us. Help me.
Help me simply be myself... who You've created me to be... so You can do the "more" part.