Luke 14:7-14 Amplified Bible
Parable of the Guests
7 Now Jesus began telling a parable to the invited guests when He noticed how they had been selecting the places of honor at the table, saying to them, 8 “When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not sit down [to eat] at the place of honor, since a more distinguished person than you may have been invited by the host, 9 and he who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give this man your place,’ and then, in disgrace you proceed to take the last place. 10 But when you are invited, go and sit down [to eat] at the last place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’; and then you will be honored in the presence of all who are at the table with you. 11 For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled [before others], and he who habitually humbles himself (keeps a realistic self-view) will be exalted.”
12 Jesus also went on to say to the one who had invited Him, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or wealthy neighbors, otherwise they may also invite you in return and that will be your repayment. 13 But when you give a banquet or a reception, invite the poor, the disabled, the lame, and the blind, 14 and you will be blessed because they cannot repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the [a]righteous (the just, the upright).”
The Word of God for the Children of God.
Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.
Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.
Parable of the Honored Ambitious Guests …
The guests and host of a banquet met Jesus.
At the banquet, the guests tried to sit in seats of honor, near the place where the host would sit.
This was common in that society, which cared about honor for people who were respectable and had status in the community.
It was also common to invite people over who would invite you back, because you could then benefit socially from attending another dinner party hosted by someone else.
But Jesus introduced a different kind of world by what he said to the guests and the host.
He told them to sit in the least honorable seats, and to invite guests who were too poor to return the invitation.
In this way Jesus revealed a way of life in which status doesn’t matter, and in which shame and honor are erased.
Jesus revealed this way of life in his teachings, and he made this way of life possible by becoming the most despised outsider of all.
He died on a cross and bore the worst of all rejections in order to make God’s kingdom a reality in our world.
God’s kingdom is the only place where the only status that matters is that we are “loved by God.”
God’s kingdom is a gift that Jesus Christ gives to us.
Jesus Teaches About Ambition, Humility, Service
Ambition can be a powerful ally or a destructive enemy.
If your ambition is misplaced and fueled by shallow wants and superficial desires, you will find yourself perpetually dissatisfied, ultimately discontent.
The Bible talks about that type of ambition in Matthew 6:24, warning against greed and the insatiable desire to earn more money than you could ever spend.
If wealth and riches and status are your ambition, you will never be satisfied.
There is nothing wrong with ambition or about being ambitious ….
There is nothing wrong with Christian or with a Christian being ambitious.
There’s nothing wrong with making money, but you have to own the money; you can’t let it own you – love of money is not supposed to be our ambition.
You and I have to have a more sacred purpose that’s greater than money.
The money will come to you through hard work and God’s blessing.
Your greater purpose should be what your ambitions push you towards.
Matthew 6:33 affirms this by giving us the insight that God knows our desires.
God knows what fuels us, and if we aren’t scheming and plotting to send someone to ruination, He wants to bless us with the things that we seek.
Jesus advises that if you and I seek first the Kingdom of God then He will give you and I everything that you and I need, and more.
Humility and service are just two of the other values that Jesus not only taught but exemplified during His earthly ministry.
On so many occasions in the Bible, we read Jesus teaching His disciples to always consider others before themselves. Jesus repeatedly emphasized the importance of self-denial and service to others.
In Luke 14:7-14, Jesus used the occasion of a banquet to give insight into humility and service.
He addressed the guest regarding humility in verses 7 to 10, And in verses 12 to 14, He spoke to the host about serving others.
Luke 14:7-14The Message
Invite the Misfits
7-9 He went on to tell a story to the guests around the table. Noticing how each had tried to elbow into the place of honor, he said, “When someone invites you to dinner, don’t take the place of honor. Somebody more important than you might have been invited by the host. Then he’ll come and call out in front of everybody, ‘You’re in the wrong place. The place of honor belongs to this man.’ Embarrassed, you’ll have to make your way to the very last table, the only place left.
10-11 “When you’re invited to dinner, go and sit at the last place. Then when the host comes he may very well say, ‘Friend, come up to the front.’ That will give the dinner guests something to talk about! What I’m saying is, If you walk around all high and mighty, you’re going to end up flat on your face. But if you’re content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself.”
12-14 Then he turned to the host. “The next time you put on a dinner, don’t just invite your friends and family and rich neighbors, the kind of people who will return the favor. Invite some people who never get invited out, the misfits from the wrong side of the tracks. You’ll be—and experience—a blessing. They won’t be able to return the favor, but the favor will be returned—oh, how it will be returned!—at the resurrection of God’s people.”
Be Ambitious and Humble Yourself and Be Exalted …
Jesus’ teaching is clear – do not think so highly of yourself that you always come expect the very best treatment at all times.
No matter who you think or believe or perceive yourself to be when you are in public or in society, remember that there’s always somebody higher than you.
Being ambitious might be good at times but certainly not on many occasions.
Imagine a famous big city mayor who went to a wedding banquet along with his bodyguards and servicemen.
Upon his arrival, the host was too busy attending to other guests so he could not personally welcome him.
Thinking he was the most highly regarded guest, the mayor naturally walked into the dining hall and sat, took the best seat and made himself comfortable.
When the host noticed his presence, he came and whispered to his ear that the seat he occupied is reserved for the governor.
At this very public event, the mayor had no choice but to get up so the governor could take his rightful seat.
With all of the media outlets present, and their cameras following his every move, what a huge embarrassment for the mayor knowing all eyes are on him.
Humility and the “Ambitious Famous” Christian
Humility is a fundamental grace in the Christian life, and yet it is elusive.
There may be times when we think we deserve VIP treatment because of who we are in the church or society.
We are the Pastor – therefore we are entitled to the very best parking space.
Head of Table: We were the chairperson for the building committee and we just carried out the most successful capital campaign in the history of the church.
The Matriarch and the Patriarch of the Church – Head of the Line meal tickets.
Or perhaps there have been times when we ourselves exhibited false humility.
Do you think you have this “I am all this, that and the other, ergo…” virtue?
Please allow me to say, “If you know you have it, you have already flaunted it!”
As someone rightly said, “Humility is not thinking meanly of ourselves; it is simply not thinking of ourselves at all.”
Jesus is the greatest example of humility, and we would do well to ask the Holy Spirit to enable us to more imitative of Him and significantly less of ourselves.
A True Act of Ambitious Charity …
The Lord Jesus also emphasized the importance of treating people equally regardless of their social and economic status.
Unfortunately, when we are the one’s who are hosting a banquet, we prefer to invite rich and powerful people – trying to increase our status and self esteem.
But Jesus told the host of the banquet that when he holds a feast, he should be extraordinarily radical and also invite the poor, the lame, and the blind.
Why should the host do what Jesus said?
It’s because these people won’t be able to repay him.
They could not invite him back because they couldn’t afford to host a banquet!
However, the host will raise his standard of living in the eyes of the community he is living, showing true compassion, receiving his reward at the resurrection.
The reality is that whenever we host a party, we just prefer to invite our friends, relatives, and the rich and famous.
We want to have people who can bring the very best, most expensive gifts or those who can invite us to their party in the future.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with inviting these people.
When Rabbi Jesus said, “Do not invite your friends, brothers, relatives, or rich neighbors,” He did not mean absolute prohibition.
Such language is common in Semitic discourse and is used for emphasis.
Jesus’ point here is that inviting one’s friends and relatives cannot be classified as a spiritual act of charity.
It may also be a rebuke against those prone to reserve their hospitality for rich neighbors.
They intentionally do this knowing that these guests will automatically feel obligated to return the favor.
And if they fail to automatically invite us back we take an automatically offense and as an excuse to discontinue the relationship – bear an everlasting grudge.
Greatness and Servanthood and Ambition …
Matthew 20:20-28Amplified Bible
Preferred Treatment Asked
20 Then [Salome] the [a]mother of Zebedee’s children [James and John] came up to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down [in respect], asked a favor of Him. 21 And He said to her, “What do you wish?” She answered Him, “Command that in Your kingdom these two sons of mine may sit [in positions of honor and authority] one on Your right and one on Your left.” 22 But Jesus replied, “You do not realize what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup [of suffering] that I am about to drink?” They answered, “We are able.” 23 He said to them, “You will drink My cup [of suffering]; but to sit on My right and on My left this is not Mine to give, but it is for those for whom it has been prepared by My Father.”
24 And when the [other] ten heard this, they were resentful and angry with the two brothers. 25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles have absolute power and lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them [tyrannizing them]. 26 It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, 27 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your [willing and humble] slave; 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many [paying the price to set them free from the penalty of sin].”
In Matthew 20:26-27, Jesus taught His disciples that greatness is parallel to servanthood.
Jesus said in response to the request of James and John’s mother for them to be given high places in God’s Kingdom.
In his reply, Jesus poignantly highlighted about being a “servant.”
The word here means a “slave” and our English word “deacon” comes from it.
Not every servant was a slave, but every slave was a servant.
The Lord was teaching His disciples that the style of greatness and leadership for believers is different.
The Gentile leaders dominate in a dictatorial fashion, using carnal power and authority.
Believers are to do the opposite.
They lead must by being servants and giving themselves away for others, as Jesus did.
Sadly, in the church today we have many “celebrities” but so very few servants.
There are many who want to “flaunt” their authority but few who want to take the towel and water filled basin and get on their knees and wash “dirty” feet.
But while there are people who are still willing to serve, it’s interesting to note that they also have their motives.
Some are sincerely serving only to glorify God but others serve for honor and place and recognition of their “ambitious,” “obviously superior spirituality.”
What’s your motive for serving God and others?
Some final reflections and ambitious thoughts …
In Philippians 2:3-4, Paul uses the example of Jesus’ humility and service to encourage believers to do the same.
He uses the word “selfishness” which is sometimes rendered “strife” because it refers to “us versus them versus everybody, anybody else” rivalry.
It speaks of the pride that prompts people to push for their own way.
And then Paul encourages the church to have humility of mind.
It was a term of derision with the idea of being low, shabby, and humble.
The basic definition of true humility is regarding others as more important than yourself.
Our motive for being humble and serving others must be the praise of God and not the applause of men.
We must care significantly more about our eternal reward in heaven and not the temporary “we cannot take it with us to the grave” pseudo recognition on earth.
Remember, “You can’t get your reward twice” (Matthew 6:1-8).
On the day of judgment, many who today are first in the eyes of men will be last in God’s eyes.
And many who are last in the eyes of men will be first in the eyes of God (Luke 13:30).
The story is told about a wise man who shunned publicity.
He would speak every once in a while and when he speaks everyone listens to him.
After speaking he would immediately hide away into his own private place.
There would be rare times that he granted interviews and when he does he would always point to God as the giver of whatever wisdom that he possesses.
Many of us may be tempted to own to ourselves the wisdom or material wealth that we presently have.
But we should not allow ourselves to be possessed by that temptation, for who are we to own to ourselves what we have?
We have to always remember that we are mere vessels of God, whatever we have comes from God.
In our gospel text, Jesus highlights the great virtue of humility.
Jesus tells us to always be humble and not to crave for attention and adulation.
For the simple reason that the more humbler we are the more that Jesus is seen both with us and within us and emanating outward into the world from us.
The humbler we are the more the we become His effective vessels in this world.
The humbler you are the more that you allow Jesus’ light to shine upon you.
The humbler you are the more that you allow Jesus’ light to shine out from you.
The more light which emanates from us, more the light of Savior Jesus shines.
Maybe in some part of the earth we still walk on, the light of His Salvation;
Overly Ambitious Thoughts and Overly Ambitious Christians
Matthew 5:13-16 Amplified Bible
Disciples and the World
13 “You are the [a]salt of the earth; but if the salt has [b]lost its taste (purpose), how can it be made salty? It is no longer good for anything, but to be thrown out and walked on by people [when the walkways are wet and slippery].
14 “You are the light of [Christ to] the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; 15 nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 16 Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good deeds and moral excellence, and [recognize and honor and] glorify your Father who is in heaven.
Do we walk/talk the kind of “shining” humility, our Savior now requires of us?
We walk/talk the kind of “shining” servanthood our Savior now requires of us?
I am pondering the imponderable possibilities if the answers are actually: YES!
In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,
Let us Pray,
Lord God, we are shocked and awed by the kind of kingdom Jesus has introduced—it seems upside down and backwards to us. Its simple wisdom is wonderfully radical to us, the possibilities which would come from actual practice are enormous. We thank you for the great love that your kingdom reveals when we allow it to shape our lives.
Hospitable God, you invite us to a banquet where the last may be first, where the humble and the mighty trade places. Let us share your abundance with no fear of scarcity; let us greet strangers as angels you have sent! Send your Holy Spirit now so that we may find a place at your table and welcome others with radical hospitality. In the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus, Guest at all our tables, we pray. Amen.
Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum!
Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia! Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.