August 28, 2022
Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost: Proper 17
First Reading: Jeremiah 2: 4-14
Second Reading: Hebrews 13:1-8,15-16
Gospel: Luke 14:1,7-14
A leader of the Pharisees, had invited Jesus to his home, to share a meal on the sabbath, watching him closely, they view him with great suspicion, because, “he is always breaking rules and traditions.”
In earlier chapters, Pharisees have seen him cure someone on the sabbath.
Jesus has also called them hypocrites! This put them to shame, and the entire crowd rejoiced, when it happened.
As the Pharisees are watching Jesus, Jesus is watching the guests, choose the places of honor, they are trying to get the best seat in the place.
He takes this opportunity to teach humility.
“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, have been invited by your host; and the host who invited both of you may come and 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.”
In the days of Jesus, gathering around the table sharing a meal and drinks with each other, was an important part of their day. The most prominent come first, then… others of less importance, and many were left outside and not invited at all. This is why Jesus points it out. That everyone is important and equal in Jesus’ eyes, and in The Kingdom of God.
No one should feel marginalized and unimportant.
God has given us all good things, caring for us, helps us to care for others, it also takes our faith to another level.
Being humble does not mean, you are this meek shy person… walking around with your head down, not talking or being assertive.
Quite the opposite.
Humility comes from the heart, it is how you act towards other people.
A caring and compassionate heart, knowing not everyone can be someone’s favorite, but to make sure that, they feel better about themselves, by putting yourself in a lower position and elevating them to a higher position.
Therefore, to be humble inwardly and outwardly.
Let’s take the behavior of children and later adults.
We all know what children are like, God calls children a blessing and a gift! Their spirits are filled with innocence, joy and laughter.
Jesus actually tells us to be like children and to come to Him full of “faith” and “trust.”
Children want to be first at everything, they want to be first in line, sit next to grandmother at the table, be the teachers favorite, put dibs on the front seat in the car, or dibs on the window seat.
They, like showing off to their friends… how they can swing the highest and hit the ball the furthest, or climb the highest.
This might surprise you, but I was a tomboy (smiling) and I loved to show off, I liked to climb trees and look down on my neighborhood friends.
One day while playing with them, I climbed a tree that overhung the street, I somehow, I got up the tree with a pillow.
I found the perfect spot, and so I thought! a fork in the limb, awe! Put the pillow there and sit down, perfect!
Guess what happens when you put a pillow on a forked limb and sit down? You fall through!! Yes, I fell down on the street… on my back, and when I could catch my breath again, I picked up my pillow. Humiliated in front of my friends, and went home. Serves me right!
Pride is not good! as a matter of fact it is dangerous, we need to get “our” minds off of ourselves.
Remember where we’ve come from as children, all the help, correction and encouragement we’ve received from people along the way, it has taught us to be thankful, grounded, and able to help others.
When you’re a child, it’s common to have these self-indulgent behaviors.
But as an adult your are supposed to grow out of it, what happens to some adults, is they continue to be self-absorbed, never thinking of anyone but themselves.
Remember this song…… “it’s hard to be humble, when you perfect in every way”
Jesus said “For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Don’t sit on the highest seat or sit on a forked limb looking down upon the people, take the lowest seat.
True humility… is not having low self-esteem, according to the word, it is the greatest accomplishment of honor and an avenue to glory, it gets real to us when we draw closer to God and grow into God and realize the great gifts, he has given to us.
(Philippians 2: 3-5)
Don’t do anything from selfish ambition or from a cheap desire to boast, but be humble toward one another, always considering others better than yourselves. And look out for one another’s interests, not just for your own. The attitude you should have is the one that Christ Jesus had.
We have all been given talent, serve God with your gifts and talent and then…give God the glory
The greatest way to show how good God has been to us is to help lift up someone else in society.
The Rev. Lola Culbreath