Spending a few days thinking about my last post, my mind continually drifted to the same place. Maybe it was because I recently heard our teaching pastor speak from this passage, but my thoughts were drawn to the parable of Jesus in Luke 14. It turns out Jesus has a thing or two to say about tables.
As the guest of a dinner party one night, Jesus noticed that the other guests were choosing the places of honor at the table, for in 1st century Jewish culture, the closer the proximity to the host, the “more important” the guest. So as they jockeyed for position, Jesus told this story:
When Jesus noticed that all who had come to the dinner were trying to sit in the seats of honor near the head of the table, he gave them this advice: “When you are invited to a wedding feast, don’t sit in the seat of honor. What if someone who is more distinguished than you has also been invited? The host will come and say, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then you will be embarrassed, and you will have to take whatever seat is left at the foot of the table! “Instead, take the lowest place at the foot of the table. Then when your host sees you, he will come and say, ‘Friend, we have a better place for you!’ Then you will be honored in front of all the other guests.
In this parable, I think Jesus lands on something crucial for understanding this whole kid’s table deal. Self-promotion is a slippery slope. The moment we start deciding where we belong is an opening to be humbled. To be honest, I don’t know how to chew on this. I have been in the “professional” world long enough to know that it is rare for the quiet wheel to get any attention. It always seems like it makes sense to squeak if you want to be noticed. The problem is, I can’t resolve this in my mind or heart well. I always sense that I should just work hard and do my best on everything I do and hope that my efforts are rewarded…that the host calls me forward…that the adults find a place for me at their table, all the while remembering that I should not work simply to be seen and appreciated in this way. Man is that difficult.