Week 25 Sunday

Best Seat in the House

Today’s scripture selection: Luke 13-14

Key Verse: Luke 14:11

     Jesus had been invited to dinner, presumably quite a fancy dinner.  Luke tells us, “When he noticed how the guests picked the places of honor at the table, he told them this parable…”

     The scripture goes on to describe how Jesus said we should be careful about picking the best seat in the house – assuming we deserve it.  Because it might just be we are going to soon find ourselves being asked to move.

     But obviously the passage isn’t just about social protocol.

     It’s about humility; and charity; and what – and who’s – really important in the kingdom of God.

     Turns out it’s the humble and the meek and those with a servant’s attitude that are really worthy of honor.

     Kingdom living – at least in God’s kingdom – is about putting others first.  Not in some subservient, self-loathing way.  That’s not Christianity – it’s masochism.

          Rather, we are called; invited really – to realize that it is an honor to care for others just as God took upon himself a sacrificial role.

     There’s not much room at God’s table for someone who thinks he or she is better than everyone else.  At best, God will show that poor soul to the worst seat where he or she can learn a little humility.

     But there’s plenty of room for the one who welcomes others; shows them the best and most honored seat; makes sure they are comfortable and feeling welcome.  That’s the seating order as God would have it.  And it especially pleases God when we don’t wait for Him to tell us what it is.

     “For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

     I don’t suppose the Pharisees at dinner that night appreciated Jesus’ little sermonette.

     But the poor, and the hungry, and the disenfranchised of the world sure did.

Prayer: Lord, teach me humility, and service, in your name.  AMEN.

     

By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. “Elpis” is the Greek word for “expectant hope.” He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors, and a member of Spiritual Directors International. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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