Luke 14:1, 7-14 (New Revised Standard Version)
14 On one occasion when Jesus[a] was going to the house of a leader of the Pharisees to eat a meal on the sabbath, they were watching him closely.
7 When he noticed how the guests chose the places of honor, he told them a parable. 8 “When you are invited by someone to a wedding banquet, do not sit down at the place of honor, in case someone more distinguised than you has been invited by your host; 9 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. 10 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. 11 For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
12 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. 13 But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, 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 righteous.”
Some Thoughts on Today’s Reading—Pastor Pam
Years ago, before I became a minister, I was assisting with a meeting of community leaders. Several important people were at the head table. As the meeting got under way, a man I had never seen before arrived and stood in the back of the room. After the meeting, I went up to him and introduced myself. He introduced himself, too, and I discovered he was key to the meeting and should have been up front.
He was a humble person who was waiting to be invited to sit with the other dignitaries. When the invitation did not come, he stayed in the back. I was struck by the grace and humility of the man.
These verses out of Luke remind me of that moment. They teach me that no matter how prominent or important one might be, humility has a grace to it that invites awareness and hospitality.
Jesus teaches that racing to be first is not the way of the master. We are to offer the seat of honor to others. We honor God in this as we exhibit extreme hospitality that shows deep care for those around us.
While disciples sought seats of honor and Pharisees struck poses of hubris, Jesus showed a gentle way of honor toward others—especially those in need, hungry and homeless. He reminds us to consider where we stand in a room and why.
Following Jesus is about setting many tables where all are welcome. The joy true hospitality brings reflects the joy of the father as he welcomed the prodigal and how God must feel when we, God’s children, welcome one another with grace and humility. In this, we honor God.
Peace and Grace,