Things don’t always turn out the way you think they will

A lot of people love a happy ending.  They like to see the downtrodden, the underdog, come out on top while the seemingly unbeatable foe goes down for the count.  We need look no further than the “Rocky” franchise (I think at last count there were 17 versions) to know we like this story line.  Jesus said it was a fact that this is how it would work out but he had a slightly different reference point; one that had nothing to do with pummeling sides of beef.

Luke’s account of how he put it goes like this:  11 For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.  (Luke 14:11)

Jesus states this truth in the context of a dinner party and he couches it (pun intended) in the choice of where, as a guest, one should sit.  He says that if you choose the best place at the table right away there’s a good chance the host will have to move you because more than likely someone else at the party is of a higher stature than you.  As you might imagine this is very embarrassing and a major party fail.  Rather, Jesus says, sit far down at the poorest seat and allow your host to beckon you to a better spot.  When you’re moved, the other guests will see that you are favored and it will reflect well on you.  As you might imagine, the lesson here goes much deeper than just some party trick.

Clearly Jesus wants us to know it’s highly uncool to put on airs or think ourselves more important than we really are, however this isn’t humility for humility’s sake either.  Jesus is telling us that by remaining humble we allow our host (God) to raise us up to a higher place.  If we live according to his teaching and believe, our Father will improve our lot in life.  And there’s absolutely no one-arm push-ups required.

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