For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” – Lk. 14:11 NIV
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Jesus Christ had arrived at the home of a Pharisee to eat on a Sabbath day when he noticed a man with an abnormal swelling on his body. Aware that he was being monitored by the Pharisees and the scribes with the intention to accuse him of infringing divine laws, he asked them if it was a good thing to heal on the Sabbath. With no one willing to respond to his question, he went ahead and healed the man – Lk. 14:1-4. Probably sensing mischief in their quietness, he asked if anyone of them would not pull out his/her child or ox that has fallen in a ditch because it happened on a Sabbath day but they chose to continue in their silence – Lk. 14:5-6.
It was in the cause of giving this teaching that he observed how people were eager to take seats of honour at the dinner table – Lk. 14:7. His reaction to such an act was the parable he gave with regards to someone who had been invited to a dinner and rather than wait to be shown his seat by the one who invited him, decided to pick a seat which he felt was befitting of his personality and status. Of course when someone of higher personality rating than his arrived, he was told to vacate the seat for that personality, an action that brought him shame and embarrassment – Lk. 14:8-10. The situation will be different if such had gone to take a lower position with the one that invited him calling him up to take a higher position of honour. He thus concluded his teaching with the scripture that is the foundation of today’s Devotional that, anyone who exalts himself will be humbled and the one who is humble in disposition will be exalted – Lk. 14:11.
To be humble is to have or show a modest estimate of ones importance. It implies that the one who can be humble must basically have some qualities that will make people regard such as important. To be important is to be relevant to a situation or the people in a situation. One may be truly important but the basis of the importance may not be relevant to the situation just as importance is not just about self rating but about how one is seen by others. Every rational individual has a right to consider self as important but that may not be the way the people around consider such a person. It is however worse when one attributes importance to self with no basis whatsoever for such personal rating. Such will be immediately considered as arrogant.
Similarly, there is a measure for the extent to which an individual may be relevant to a situation or a people, and that will be determined by the beneficiaries of that relevance. Attempting to rate self highly on the ladder of relevance could end up being very embarrassing as though, one may consider self and indeed be very relevant to an individual or a situation but may never know how the beneficiaries of that act rate such relevance in comparison to the other contributors to that situation until they express it. This will not mean that they do not value all the people that are relevant to their lives but it is simply that the impact level varies and that is how they intend to express it when they have cause to host all those that have been relevant to their lives, especially during times of celebration. The one who is therefore invited to such celebrations will be jumping the gun by going straight to the seat with the highest honour as that may just be a signal of over-estimation of ones importance to the host. The host will definitely not mind acting in a manner that will seem embarrassing to such an individual bus asking such to settle for a lower seat, as not doing so will also present such as being ungrateful to the one whose relevant is indeed more appreciated. It will therefore not be the fault of the host, for any form of embarrassment that will result from attempts to position all who have been invited according to their relevance to the host or to the occasion.
That you were invited is a pointer to the fact that you are indeed important, but you need to wait for the assessment of the host to determine the level of relevance you have to that situation, as doing otherwise may just be asking to be embarrassed. Even where you are the most relevant to that occasion, you will be better honoured when you are called to take your rightful position as all will rise to applaud you for your relevance to that occasion.
Indeed you were embarrassed by that person or group during your last association with them but that may simply be your fault and no one else’s. It could just have been the case of over-rating your relevance and that cannot be any one’s fault but solely yours. Take the reaction on the chin, learn the associated lesson and move on. There is simply no need to begin to seek for enemies in that situation as you simply got what you deserved. The one who does not wish to be embarrassed must always take this advise of Jesus Christ to heart because that is the only way such can live a life of honour.
May God grant us all the wisdom to be humble in all situations in Jesus name. Amen.