Humbled by worth
Luke 14:7-35 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
And He began speaking a parable to the invited guests when He noticed how they had been picking out the places of honor at the table, saying to them, 8 “When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for someone more distinguished than you may have been invited by him, 9 and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this man,’ and then in disgrace you proceed to occupy the last place. 10 But when you are invited, go and recline at the last place, so that when the one who has invited you comes, he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher’; then you will have honor in the sight of all who are at the table with you. 11 For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
12 And He also went on to say 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, otherwise they may also invite you in return and that will be your repayment. 13 But when you give a reception, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, 14 and you will be blessed, since they do not have the means to repay you; for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.”
15 When one of those who were reclining at the table with Him heard this, he said to Him, “Blessed is everyone who will eat bread in the kingdom of God!”
16 But He said to him, “A man was giving a big dinner, and he invited many; 17 and at the dinner hour he sent his slave to say to those who had been invited, ‘Come; for everything is ready now.’ 18 But they all alike began to make excuses. The first one said to him, ‘I have bought a piece of land and I need to go out and look at it; please consider me excused.’ 19 Another one said, ‘I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I am going to try them out; please consider me excused.’ 20 Another one said, ‘I have married a wife, and for that reason I cannot come.’ 21 And the slave came back and reported this to his master. Then the head of the household became angry and said to his slave, ‘Go out at once into the streets and lanes of the city and bring in here the poor and crippled and blind and lame.’ 22 And the slave said, ‘Master, what you commanded has been done, and still there is room.’ 23 And the master said to the slave, ‘Go out into the highways and along the hedges, and compel them to come in, so that my house may be filled. 24 For I tell you, none of those men who were invited shall taste of my dinner.’”
25 Now large crowds were going along with Him; and He turned and said to them, 26 “If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be My disciple. 27 Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. 28 For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? 29 Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who observe it begin to ridicule him, 30 saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ 31 Or what king, when he sets out to meet another king in battle, will not first sit down and consider whether he is strong enough with ten thousand men to encounter the one coming against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or else, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. 33 So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.
34 “Therefore, salt is good; but if even salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned? 35 It is useless either for the soil or for the manure pile; it is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
In today’s text Jesus says: “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” This humbling of ourselves should not be confused with a lack of confidence. It does not mean that we are to have a low opinion of ourselves. Humility is not the same as low self esteem. It is self pride we should avoid. It is having confidence in our own strength and abilities, believing that we deserve things because of how good or great we are which will cause us to be humbled. We sometimes compare ourselves to others and judge ourselves as better, more righteous, more worthy of honor. That is the attitude that will cause us to be humbled. The truth is, as it says in Romans 6:23: All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. In Luke 18:10-14 Jesus says: “Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: ‘God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’ But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’ I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.” None of us, in our own righteousness could stand before God. But if we, like the tax collector, humble ourselves and confess our sins, acknowledging that we need a Savior, a Redeemer, then God sees us no longer as a sinner, but through Christ our Savior He sees us as righteous. When we realize the price that Christ paid to reconcile us to God, to restore us to the glory God created us to have, being the image and likeness of God Himself, we will be humbled in our own eyes, yet exalted in Him. We should not take pride in our self worth, but rather that God views us as worthy. Humility is not seeing ourselves as worthless, but rather as worthy in Him.
Jesus ends today’s text saying: “Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after Me cannot be My disciple. For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if he has enough to complete it? … So then, none of you can be My disciple who does not give up all his own possessions. Therefore, salt is good; but if even salt has become tasteless, with what will it be seasoned? It is useless either for the soil or for the manure pile; it is thrown out. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Jesus spoke these words before He went to the cross. Our cross, the one that we are to carry, is not His cross. We cannot pay the debt He paid with our own sacrifice. On the cross Jesus gave His all. He gave His life as payment for the sin of each one of us. He calls us in response to give up our possessions, all that we have. It doesn’t mean though that we will be without what we need. When we give up what we have, we get more in return. Jesus says: “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10) In Mark 10:29-31 Jesus says: “Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or farms, for My sake and for the gospel’s sake, but that he will receive a hundred times as much now in the present age, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and farms, along with persecutions; and in the age to come, eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last, first.” There is a cost in following Christ. He wants us to consider carefully what that cost is so that we will be able to finish as His followers. Nothing we could give up for Him could equal what He gave up for us. Yet if we will humble ourselves, give up the little we have on our own, He will exalt us, giving us more than we could ask or imagine. “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
Heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ, my Savior and Redeemer; precious Holy Spirit, I acknowledge that I myself have fallen short of Your glory. Thank You that You see me not as fallen but through the cross as glorified, as righteous and as worthy. I cannot repay You for what You have given me, but all that I have and all that I am, I give to You. Amen.