For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. (Luke 14:7-12, NIV)
I’m reminded of the journey of Raindrop.
Once upon a time there was a wee little Raindrop in a faraway cloud that grew as moisture gathered around her. Soon, she grew so heavy she began falling, falling, falling from the sky.
“Ka-plop.” She landed on earth.
Slowly, Raindrop joined Tiny Trickle as they crept down the mountainside to join Small Stream. Raindrop and Trickle flowed down, down, down with Stream until they gushed into Raging River.
Flowing downward in that great river, Raindrop continued her descent, jumbling, tumbling, and bumping against rocks and boulders. “Ouch, that hurts!” she cried.
Raindrop continued cascading lower, lower and lower to the vastness of Great Salton Sea. She felt lost, alone, and afraid in the ocean’s vastness. Raindrop pondered the meaning of her downward trip.
Scorching Sun beat mercilessly upon poor little Raindrop, and she felt so tired from her journey. She was empty, empty, empty of energy. Finally, she gave herself up, evaporating into Boundless Sky.
Raindrop pleaded with Abundant Cloud of the heavens, “Why did I have such a humbling journey, always tumbling downward?”
Abundant Cloud consoled her, “You are one of my teardrops of love, descending to the earth to quench the thirst of people. You were my gift sent to them. My servants must be meek and lowly of heart. They always seek the lowest place at the banquet table for I gave them to serve all humanity before they return to Me.”
Jesus showed the law of the lowest when He, King of heaven, descended to earth and took on the form of a servant. He gave Himself as an offering to atone for our sins. Emptying Himself of His divine glory and pouring His life out to God as a sacrifice reveal this divine principle.
Our passage in Luke presents Christ sitting down to dinner with a “ruler of the Pharisees.” Jesus wants to teach his host the nature of love. So, He first heals a man of dropsy. Then, the Lord salts his teaching with a parable set in a wedding reception.
The story seems to ask us, “Where do you sit when you go to a wedding reception or a church dinner? With whom do you sit? What do you talk about?” The answers to these questions tell your story. If you are ambitious or have a positive self-image, you will probably gravitate to the front. If you have good friends present, you will settle in with them. Or perhaps you want to hide in the back anonymously, because you are shy, regretful or ashamed.
Jesus pushes us in a new direction. He tells us to seat others before we seat ourselves, serve the lonely and the disenfranchised. He urges us to the back of the bus with the down and outers. If you look closely, you will sometimes find Jesus in the face of those you serve.
The downward track of humility is the pathway to God’s heart. Paul said of Jesus in Philippians 2:6-7, “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death — even death on a cross!”
Both my simple fable and Christ’s parable illustrates a powerful kingdom principle. Humble submission moves us to seek the lowest place in order to lift others. Jesus, even though He was equal to God, humbled Himself and became human, suffering death as a criminal on a cross. Because of His obedience to God’s will, the Father lifted Jesus and gave Him a name above every name. He lowered Himself to the lowest place and God lifted Him to the highest place.
I believe God orchestrates challenges for us that will present opportunities to choose the path of humility. I hear Jesus saying metaphorically, “Move to the back of the banquet hall and let others go first and you will be lifted up in due time.”
Dave Holland pastored churches for thirty-eight years before retiring in Destin. This devotional is from his book, “Extraordinary Jesus.” You can obtain a copy of his books from his website, DaveHolland.org or at Amazon.com. Pastor Dave is available to preach and teach at churches and conferences. Contact him at DavidvHolland54@gmail.com.