Get The Best Seat! - 9/30/18

GET THE BEST SEAT! 09 30 2018

Luke 14: 7-11

Let me tell you a story: …
The governor’s daughter was getting married. … The governor had planned an
elaborate wedding and reception. … The reception was more than cake and punch.
It was a seven-course meal. … The governor rented a massive hall in which they
would have the reception.
The governor, … who was quite popular, having been involved in government and
politics for a number of years, … made a lengthy guest list.
Mayors from all over the state were invited, along with senators, congressmen,
judges … and even former presidents.
Dignitaries would be there like never before.
The governor carefully planned the seating arrangements. … With the amount of
officials and dignitaries there, egos could easily be bruised if the pecking order
wasn’t followed closely. … It proved to be a little difficult as the wedding
approached because some who said they could come, backed out.
Others didn’t respond until the last minute.
As the reception was beginning, … the name cards got all messed up.
It was confusing … but everyone had a good idea where to sit.
The mayor of Capitol City was in attendance. … In all the confusion, he saw an
opportunity to get close to the governor. … After all, the governor would not be
seeking another term. … The mayor thought it would be a great chance to
schmooze the governor and get his personal endorsement to be the next governor.
He pushed his way through the crowd and slid into the chair right next to the
governor. … Just as the mayor was ready to chat up the governor, a former
president came into the room. … The governor had been a cabinet member during
the administration of the former president. … The governor jumped to his feet to
greet the former president.
The mayor glanced around. … All the other seats were now taken.
The governor asked the mayor to move so the former president could sit there.
With everyone looking on, … the mayor, … red-faced, … slipped to the other side
of the hall and sat down at the table with all the kids (That is the equivalent of
sitting at the card table with the kids at Thanksgiving dinner).

What had begun as a political power play by the mayor of Capitol City …
turned into a colossal embarrassment for him.
Can you imagine what the mayor was feeling? … The mayor of Capitol City was a
very honored guest … but an even more honored guest, in a former president,
displaced him.
There was also something else going on at the reception that went virtually
unnoticed. … The mayor of a small town also came. … He had known the
governor while they were both in college. … The small town mayor, though, knew
his place in the political hierarchy. … He knew he was not a big player. … He sat
down with the less distinguished guests.
Before everyone else had taken their seats, … the governor noticed his old friend
sitting in the corner. … The governor rushed over to him and said; …
“Old friend, why are you sitting here? Come with me.”
The governor ushered him to the seat next to where the mayor of capitol city was
sitting (This all occurred before the former president came in).
As the events with the mayor of Capitol City unfolded, … the small town mayor
watched in astonishment as the former president was seated next to him.
Can you imagine what the small town mayor was feeling? …
Because of his humility, … the small town mayor was ushered to a seat of very
great honor.
Does this story bare any resemblance to our Gospel reading of  Luke 14:7-11.
The story that Jesus told was based on a Proverb.
Don’t brag about yourself before the king, and don’t stand in the place of the
great; 7  for it is better for him to say to you, “Come up here!” than to demote you
in plain view of a noble (Proverbs 25: 6-7)
What does all this mean?
Is this just a lesson on table manners?
What implication does this have on our lives?
All of this contradicts what values we often hold; … what this world we live in,
admires. … We assign worth to the pushy politician who climbs the ladder on the
backs of the little guy. … We value people who are assertive. … Seminars are held
to help people become assertive. … How many seminars have you seen advertised
to help people become humble? … “Come to the Humble Seminar and learn how
to be more humble.”
I did a search on the Internet for “humble seminar” and “humility seminar”. …

Guess what?: … Got nothing.
Do a search on “assertiveness seminar” and you get hundreds of hits.
Humble, … non-self-promoting effacing people … are seen as weak.
They are often stepped on by upwardly mobile people.
Even the Hindu  spiritual prophet, Sivananda Saraswati, teaches; …  “Humility is
not cowardice.”
Humility comes from the realization that … we can’t do it on our own.
We can’t save ourselves.
Are we learning that acting humble will get us the seat of honor or whatever we
want? … No!
Acting humble, … or even being humble, … is not a shortcut to glory.
Here’s one for you: … A man was given a medal because of his humility.
Later, it was taken away because he wore it everywhere he went.
It’s hard to ask someone if they are humble. … If they say “yes” then it looks like
they’re proud of their humility. … If they say “no”, … maybe they’re right.
The path to humility starts with the realization that we are dependent on Jesus for
everything.
There is not, … nor has there ever been … a self-made man (or woman, for-that-
matter).
Every mother would dispute that.
Beyond our indebtedness to our mothers for life, … is our indebtedness to God for
our life.
We are running a race on a treadmill, never getting anywhere … and in no way
ever crossing a finish line, … if we try to live a life apart from God’s grace.
Even those who give no thought to God are indebted to God. … so that you may be
sons of your Father in heaven. For He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the
good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous” (Matthew 5: 45).
Being humble is not a shortcut to earthly success. … People won’t get a job
promotion just because they’re humble. … On the contrary, … they’ll probably be
often overlooked.
Remember that God’s social economy is quite different from our social economy.
God values humility … while our values seek the proud. … “But He gives greater
grace. Therefore He says: God resists the proud,but gives grace to the humble”
(James 4: 6).

Again, … humility isn’t the path to earthly success. … God cares more about
having a relationship with us … than he does with making sure we have a
Mercedes or a Lariat 4X4 to drive.
The true reward of humility is a close relationship with Jesus Christ; … not a big
house or large paycheck.
Yet, have you ever noticed how pride can get in the way of relationship?
I have argued with people for the sake of arguing. … After a while it doesn’t really
matter what the argument was about. … I’m only arguing so I can win the stupid
argument. … It doesn’t really matter who’s right … because I want to win.
I’ve even argued on my behalf when I knew I was wrong!
I’m sure no one else here today has ever been that petty.
The quickest way to turn a friend into an enemy, … is to argue about something all
the time.
Always making sure that we are right … letting our pride get the best of us.
Jesus is telling us, in today’s reading, … that pride will lead to a downfall. …
Pride leads to arrogance. … Arrogance leads to the thought that we’re invincible!
That means we are depending on whom?; … Ourselves!
If we are depending on ourselves, … we aren’t depending on Christ.
If we aren’t depending on Christ, … what happens to our relationship with Him?
It’s damaged … or destroyed!
Following Christ is about having a relationship with him.
One of the characteristics of a good marriage (or any relationship), … is the
realization by both parties, … that they are interdependent.
A husband is dependent on his wife: … A wife is dependent on her husband.
One friend is dependent on the other friend. … When that interdependency
vanishes, … the relationship or marriage comes to a crashing halt!
When we trust in Christ, … our relationship is strengthened.
When that trust diminishes, … the relationship is weakened.
Is pride getting in the way of our relationship with others?
Is pride defeating our relationship with Jesus Christ?

AMEN