On one occasion when Jesus was going to the house of a leader of the Pharisees to eat a meal on the sabbath, they were watching him closely. Just then, in front of him, there was a man who had dropsy. And Jesus asked the lawyers and Pharisees, “Is it lawful to cure people on the sabbath, or not?” But they were silent. So Jesus took him and healed him, and sent him away. Then he said to them, “If one of you has a child or an ox that has fallen into a well, will you not immediately pull it out on a sabbath day?” And they could not reply to this.
When he noticed how the guests chose the places of honor, he told them a parable. “When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not sit down at the place of honor, in case someone more distinguished than you has been invited by your host; and the host who invited both of you may come and say to you, ‘Give this person your place,’ and then in disgrace you would start to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit down at the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’; then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at the table with you. For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
He said also 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 rich neighbors, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
Wow. Just … wow.
When you imagine you are important, nothing is more embarrassing than being proved otherwise. I should know. But when you have humility you leave open the opportunity to be raised up. I imagine it feels nothing less than amazing. And, as Jesus points out, those who act with humility, who do good with no expectations of return, have the best chance of being raised up by God.
Pride is my fatal flaw.
My entire life, every action, is motivated by this perception of myself as the most awesome person ever. I’ll grant that there are times when some confidence is appropriate, but most of the time it just gets in the way. It keeps me from seeing God working in my life. It keeps me from asking Him for help. It keeps me from forgiving the people I love. It keeps me from taking ownership for my half of a disagreement (or the whole share). It ruins everything. And the worst part is that, unlike the Pharisees, I am completely aware of it. But I can’t seem to do anything about it. I wish it were as simple as just sitting in a different chair at dinner!
But maybe that’s the key. I’m sure I’ve said this before, but maybe if I act more humble, in time my brain will start to work that way too. Be a servant. Put other people before myself. All the things Jesus hints at with this parable. Maybe if I do all of that will my actions, in time the feeling of humility will come.