VERSE DISCOVERY: Luke 14:7-14 (KJV, Public Domain)
Have you ever been around that one person in the crowd that always needs to be heard? They stand amid a circle of onlookers boasting about all the what’s going to be. They are people with a lot of talk and little action, when, actions really do speak louder than words.
Jesus was the epitome of humbleness and humility. Philippians 2:7 says, “But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.” The King of all kings stepped down from His throne in heaven and stooped down to the rags of earth and put on humanity. The King who could’ve demanded all demanded nothing.
In John 13:15 He told them, “For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.” Though that was written after the washing of the disciples’ feet the same principle of humility and how one lives their life applies here.
Prominence is not a new and now thing. Wanting to be seen and noticed by others is something that mankind has before and continues to struggle with today. Jesus instructs us on how to seek the humble road to walk and let God exalt us in due time.
Humility Does Not Exalt Itself
Luke 14:7 “And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them,”
“I only want the best for my…” you fill in the rest. It’s something I’m sure we have all said at one point or another. The best is a symbol of status. It is thought of to be in a more favorable condition than another. The best for the purpose of showing off was not something Jesus supported, but for those who attended these events, they fervently sought for it.
“He marked how they chose out the chief rooms.” Jesus pays attention to the dealings of man. He has a very astute eye for detail. Attending the weddings and/or events He observed how people clamored for the best; “the chief rooms.” Many may not see a problem with wanting choice seating but let me unwrap it a bit and show you this in another perspective.
Imagine a concert with people fighting and pushing their way to get as close to the front as possible. Not caring for others, they would trample and step over others to get to that prominent place. Or, let me pick with some other folk. Imagine… are you ready for it… BLACK FRIDAY SHOPPING! Enough said.
Seeking after these chief rooms was seeking after the world’s symbol of being lifted above another. The attitudes represented didn’t give thought or care to their human counterparts. Getting to that prominent position is all that mattered.
Luke 14:8-9 “When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him; And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room.”
It’s the “not’s” of life that people don’t want to hear about. But Jesus, with His wise perspective, instructs the people to live opposite of their natural inclinations. Naturally, people seek the higher, the better. True humility doesn’t vie for the best for oneself; it vies for the best for others.
One teaching I have always heard and still remember to this day is that none of us are the end all to everything. What that means is that God can raise up someone off the streets or wherever to take anybody’s place and fulfill a ministry, calling, etc. if one is unwilling to do so on their part. There is always someone who can take over the place where we fight to sit or someone in the wings whom others may view as more important. Therefore, to vie for the temporary of our own accord means that we will not have the strength in and of ourselves to retain that so-called “seat of honor” if the one who bids decides that we can be swapped out and made to move and give room to another.
Jesus’ advice was not to put oneself in that situation where instead of the honor they fought of themselves to obtain, they actually have come to know shame by being made to move. This reminds me of the naughty dog who walks away with his tail tucked between his legs; ashamed and put out. Jesus was trying to help Christians save themselves from shame through the fruit of humility. In our success-driven generation more of this fruit needs to be eaten more often, and with careful regard. The thrill to seek the “high” will quickly be overtaken when one is forced to take the “lowest.”
Luke 14:10 “But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee.”
The way to up is down. How backward that is to the thinking of many today? But how glorious it is that when one is in the “lowest” to have another come and place him in the “higher.” This is how things work in God’s economy. Notice in the Bible, it is the lowliest of people that are entrusted with the greatest honor.
People will take notice of the one who is lifted. “Then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee.” Notice the opposites of God’s economy. Those that seek to be noticed in the “presence” of people are the same ones that can be overlooked or even made to move lower. Yet, at the same time, those who are not worried about self-glorification and such are the ones who are now noticed in the “presence” of all. “Put not forth thyself in the presence of the king, and stand not in the place of great men: For better it is that it be said unto thee, Come up hither; than that thou shouldest be put lower in the presence of the prince whom thine eyes have seen,” (Proverbs 25:6-7). Choose what Proverbs calls the “better!”
A good biblical representation of this is the story of Joseph. He was forced into servitude yet through it all he kept his cool and let God work in him where he was be it the pit, Potiphar’s house, or the prison. God moved him “higher” in each circumstance until eventually, Pharaoh declared, “Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled: only in the throne will I be greater than thou,” (Genesis 41:40). Now, Joseph was honored or “worshipped” as second in command of Egypt. He didn’t exalt or seek the higher for himself; God was responsible for bidding him to come “higher.”
Luke 14:11 “For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”
Through stories of parable or through a direct command of the Word, Jesus is making His point: if one decides to lift themselves up God can and will bring him/her down!
Obadiah 3-4 says, “The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, whose habitation is high; that saith in his heart, Who shall bring me down to the ground? Though thou exalt thyself as the eagle, and though thou set thy nest among the stars, thence will I bring thee down, saith the LORD” (emphasis mine). Arrogance and self-exaltation are deceptive. It is a lie that will fade as fast as any fake substance that tries to stand before a very real God. That’s God’s economy!
When one seeks to exalt themselves not only is it prideful, something that God is dreadfully against, but it shows that one trusts in themselves over God’s sovereignty. “Whosoever” means absolutely anybody! There are no exceptions. Nobody is exempt. Any who would seek to lift himself will be “abased;” God will put them down. But, for those that are humble God shows special favor. “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones,” (Isaiah 57:17). These are revived. These are exalted.
Humility Treats Others Fairly
Luke 14:12-13 “Then said he also to him that bade him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, neither thy kinsmen, nor thy rich neighbours; lest they also bid thee again, and a recompence be made thee. But when thou makest a feast call the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind:”
Instructions for humility also include how we treat others. One who is prideful and operates for self-advancement will put on a show for those who can help them reach their goal. Shaking the right hands and scratching the right backs can lift one in certain social circles. It propels them further up the ladder of success.
Humility, as what Jesus was teaching, operates with compassion and is based on love. Love that wants to see others treated fairly. Love that is not concerned with who approves of the guest list. Love that sees people for who they are and not the badges of afflictions such as maimed, lame and blind; and not for the labels of being “poor.” These people, despite how society looks on them, are to be welcomed to come to the feast!
Are we not a people who will experience the same benefits that Jesus is teaching in this parable? Revelation 19:9 says, “…Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb…” Were we not the unloved? Were we not the ones maimed by sin and the degradation of this world? Were we not the ones who bore afflictions and were outcast yet when He saved us we became “blessed?” We have received our open invitation to the “marriage supper of the Lamb” which we could never have been counted worthy of or repay. Jesus is saying for His people to start practicing what He already was going to do for all those who are “called.”
Luke 14:14 “And thou shalt be blessed; for they cannot recompence thee: for thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just.”
If you will allow me to paraphrase, Jesus was saying, “They can’t repay you, but I can!” Isn’t that exciting? “Thou shalt be blessed!” The Bible declares, “Evil pursueth sinners: but to the righteous good shall be repayed,” (Proverbs 13:21). Too many are worried about the idea of losing out. They allow thoughts of being shortened by someone or not receiving a return for their supposed good that they do. But our God is faithful, and He is the one that will reward!
“Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ,” (Colossians 3:24). When one loves people enough to invite those whom to others seem unworthy, they are showing that they are true servants of Christ because this is what Christ did for all. And, because they “serve the Lord Christ” they “shall receive the reward of the inheritance.”
If you have ever read The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom, you know that the Ten Boom family was a family that was used to opening their home out of their meager means to feed any who knocked on the door – people who could not repay them for their kindness. Then, during the German occupation, they rescued, saved, and cared for countless Jews while they themselves suffered loss. God does not soon forget such kindness toward one of His own. On this earth, it may have appeared that this family lost all, when, in actuality, they have their reward that will be “recompensed at the resurrection of the just.” In humility, they were just happy to be servants of Christ that could reach out and help others. They were never worried about a here and now reward. They just wanted to help any way they could. That’s compassion. That’s the love of Christ in operation, which to me, is the meaning of true humility.
PDF Printable Sunday School Lesson Pack (With easy to read instructions following the P.E.A.R.L. format on how to conduct each lesson with areas for adding personal notes): Sunday School Lesson – Instructions on Humility
Draw the Scene: Instructions on Humility Draw the Scene
Adult Journal Page: Adult Journal Page – Luke 14:11
Kid’s Journal Page – Kid’s Journal Page – Jesus Teaches Us to be Humble
Blank Journal Pages: Blank Adult and Kid’s Journal Pages
“A Tale of Two Prayers” (Great lesson ideas and object lesson. It has balloons so you know students will enjoy this one. Enjoy!)
“The Tortoise and the Hare” (This old story with coloring sheet is a great example of humility. Enjoy!)
“Boastful or Humble” (Printable activity page that will help kids evaluate what is humble.)
“Pride vs. Humility” (Different lesson but can easily be applied to this one. After all, when you have boxing gloves involved it becomes a whole new way of illustrating such an important truth. Enjoy!)