Joshua 4:1-24; Luke 14:7-24; Psalms 80:14-19; Proverbs 19:22-23
NT: “He told a parable to those who were invited, when he noticed how they would choose the best places for themselves: “When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, don’t sit in the place of honor, because a more distinguished person than you may have been invited by your host. The one who invited both of you may come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this man,’ and then in humiliation, you will proceed to take the lowest place. “But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when the one who invited you comes, he will say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ You will then be honored in the presence of all the other guests. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” He also said to the one who had invited him, “When you give a lunch or a dinner, don’t invite your friends, your brothers or sisters, your relatives, or your rich neighbors, because they might invite you back, and you would be repaid. On the contrary, when you host a banquet, invite those who are poor, maimed, lame, or blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”” (Luke 14:7-14 CSB)
Jesus was keenly aware of and spoke against the political gamesmanship and jockeying for position that was prevalent in society. People were more concerned about their societal reputation than on the quality of their character. Banquets were a way to earn status. If you were invited to the right banquets, you would be seen as important. The closer you sat to the host of the banquet, the more honor you had. So when the banquet doors were opened, guests would rush in and try to get the most honorable seat possible. In order to increase their status in society, they would hold banquets of their own and invite those of status to try and increase their standing. Everything was done for selfish gain, self-promotion, and reputation. The way of the Kingdom is not selfishness, but selflessness. Self-promotion is hollow, fake, and short-lasting. True honor is not taken, it is bestowed. We have the choice to humble ourselves or be humiliated. We have the choice of seeking to selflessly honor others or eventually have our honor stripped away. If we choose to take the lowly place in deference to others, and if we choose to bestow honor on those who have no way of reciprocating, we will truly be honored by the One who alone is worthy of all honor. Humility is not a way to get honor. True humility is honorable.