Journal Luke 14 (all references are from the ESV unless noted otherwise; changes in punctuation are mine)

Scripture: Now (Jesus) told a parable to those who were invited, (and) when he noticed how they chose the places of honor, saying to them,

“When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you be invited by him, and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this person,’ and they you will begin with shame to take the lowest place.

But, when you are invited, go, and sit in the lowest place so that when your host comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you.

For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 14:7-11

Observation: This passage describes a physical manifestation of humility—but is it describing the heart as well? It should, following a good dose of self-examination, a la 2 Cor 13:5 Examine yourself,  and 1 Pet 5:6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God SO THAT at the proper time he may exalt you.

Analysis: What is Luke 14-7-11 about? Dinner etiquette? Of course not, it is about presumption, maybe the opposite of humility.

Pride and presumption I think go hand in hand, and between the two, presumption is harder to recognize.

Jesus is describing presumption in this parable. I presume that I have the ‘chops’ to take a seat towards the head of the table; I have done the work, I have the political savvy (and make no mistake, it is present in the church as well), I have the recognition, I have the smarts, etc., etc. So, naturally and without argument (at least in my own mind), I go towards the head of the table.

Of course, the story goes on and describes what happens when I get asked to step down: Shame and embarrassment.

Jesus suggests that my first step is to avoid the issue by accurately assessing myself through the Gospel, and, using what is said in Phil 2:3 (“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves…”)

How difficult is this? Certainly, difficult in the light of the gospel of today where everything is pointed to build up self-esteem irrationally. Yes, I have a strong opinion, maybe a little bit opposed to some ideas.

Confession: I have latched upon this scripture to guide my life, perhaps in opposition to other guidance (like promoting myself, or in the church to take charge and lead without assignment or delegation). I prefer the safety of the assignment, the “call” if you will, and resist the presumption of “going where angels fear to tread… (the bull in the China shop attitude).”

Phil 2:3 is the shorthand support of the parable Luke 14:5-11. I hitch my flag on the word of God.

Prayer: Father, again I declare that your Word is true and powerful, bringing life. I do not want to presume on your Grace in any application.

I know that my heart is jumping around, wondering if I am living in fear? Whether I am, or not, I will put my trust in your Word.


Ricky Two Shoes