“But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee. For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”
Luke 14:10, 11
When people were invited to a special occasion, it was customary for the more honorable guests to be seated in the higher rooms, and those with less honor to take the lower seats. Jesus used this tradition as a backdrop to teach a lesson about humility. He taught that it would be wise to take the lowest room. Then when the person who invited you comes, he can direct you to the place of higher honor.
We should never exalt ourselves, yet we know that it is a part of our fallen human nature to do that very thing. Our natural tendency is to think that our opinions, our needs, and our feelings are more important than those of others. This is why the Bible has so much to say about the danger of pride. Pride tends to exalt self, to place self before others. This was, of course, the thing that caused Lucifer to rebel against God. Jesus tells us that if we exalt ourselves, we will be abased or humbled. Proverbs 16:18 tells us that, “Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” Several places in the Bible describe how God actually resisted the proud, but gave grace to the humble.
In our text, Jesus is teaching about the importance of humbling ourselves. This is something we can do. This is something we must do. God can arrange for circumstances that will humble us, but we are to take the initiative against our pride and humble ourselves. We can choose to humble ourselves. This is an attitude adjustment that we can make. Pride is not just something that is publicly seen in the way we look for recognition or the most prestigious seat of honor. These things are only the external evidences or manifestations of pride. Pride should be first identified or recognized when it is in our hearts. When we see this tendency to exalt ourselves, we must be diligent to judge ourselves and deliberately humble ourselves. If we do not humble ourselves, then God will have to see to it that we are humbled. If we intentionally take the lower room, God will ensure that we are honored.