Tuesday, May 10, 2011

"Don't Make Yourself Important"

The title of this article comes from the little, non-inspired heading in my Bible that comes before verses 7-11 of Luke 14. Jesus is teaching on humility as he is watching people come into the home of a leading Pharisee and "were choosing the best places to sit." It seems that people were coming into this home and taking the best seats, so they could be recognized as someone who is important.

The Pharisees loved to do this didn't they? They just loved to make themselves look important by the way they dressed. They loved to make themselves sound important by praying verbose prayers to God. They wanted to come across as more spiritual by announcing when they would fast or when they would do good deeds (see Matt. 6). And now here, in Luke 14, we find some of these "guests” scrambling for the best seats in this leading Pharisees house so they will be recognized as people who are important.

Our society struggles w/ humility doesn’t it? How many times have we seen an athlete make a great play and then beat his chest, raise his hands in the air, or do some ridiculous dance, as if to say, “Look how great I am”? How many times do we hear of celebrities announcing a specific dollar amount that they are giving to charity?
Now perhaps we have come to expect this sort of thing from those people. But what about us? Ever get a little upset that your child’s name wasn’t spelled right in the paper? Or that some of the information about you in the article was a little off? Or that one team was on the front page and yours wasn’t? Perhaps at the core of your disappointment is the fact that you, your child or your team wasn’t being recognized as “great” like you thought they should be.

The lesson that Jesus gives is that, “All who make themselves great will be made humble, but those who make themselves humble will be made great” (vs. 11). Once again, Jesus turns things upside-down as he redefines what true greatness is. It seems to me that true greatness is found in those who are humble and not in those who need recognition for their deeds, donations, or accomplishments.

Jesus knows where our hearts are “sitting” and whether it desires the important seats that make us look great. Let us learn to be humble and take the seats of less importance so that “When the host comes to you, he may say, Friend, move up here to a more important place.”

~ Brian

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