When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, [Jesus] told them this parable: “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 . . . 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. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Put in My Place
Years ago, attending a national conference, I was pleased to sit by a classmate and friend. Each of us had raised our hand several times and offered input. When, once again, we had our hands in the air, we heard the firm voice of a much older man from behind us say, “We’ve heard enough from you young fellas for one day.”
I think of that experience when reading today’s Bible reading in which Jesus tells us not to exalt ourselves. Rather, he says we are to humble ourselves.
True humility means praying, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner” (Luke 18:13). It is a recognition that I am not what God made me to be. I am not as kind, patient, or loving as he commands me to be.
This humility is important because only when I humbly recognize my faults will I realize my need for God’s forgiveness. Only then will I turn to Jesus, who won forgiveness for me. And when I do, he promises to lift me up and restore me, to assure me that I am at peace with God and an heir of eternal life. This is what Jesus meant when he said, “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Lord Jesus, give me a humble heart that trusts only in you. Amen.