When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he 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. 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.” Luke 14:7-9
Jesus is attending a dinner at the home of an important Pharisee and begins a parable about how we scramble for position and recognition in the world. He uses the example of guests choosing seats to teach about pride and humility. He warns that if we grab the seat of honor, we may be embarrassed when required to move.
We may not think about “the place of honor” so much in our daily lives, but it is a metaphor for much of the competition we engage in on a regular basis. We challenge each other for promotions at work, the coolest car, the best seats at the big game. Jesus knows our greed can make us do things that are not in our best eternal interest, and warns against foolishly grabbing for things.
He teaches that being humble will prevent the embarrassment that pride often earns us. We need to be aware of our selfish desires and curb them. This parable illustrates how God’s kingdom works, when Jesus taught us “So the last will be first, and the first will be last.” (Matthew 20:16)
Heavenly Father, teach us to think of others first, not to hoard things for ourselves. Make us generous with what has been given to us, humble and loving to all our brothers and sisters. Amen.