Maintaining humility can be like holding a pool of water in your hands—elusive. There is a complex mix of embracing how God blesses and lifts you up, and how God reminds us to consider ourselves lifted up above others. In the the stories of Jesus’ interactions, much is made about sources of honor and situations of shame. Often, especially in the gospel of Luke, this is symbolized by the Table.
Who is invited?
Who do we sit beside?
Where do we sit?
In Luke 12, the household manager will reward faithful servants by placing them at the table in the seat of highest honor. But Luke 14:7-11 gives us a lesson in humility:
“When Jesus noticed how the guests sought out the best seats at the table, he told them a parable. “When someone invites you to a wedding celebration, don’t take your seat in the place of honor. Someone more highly regarded than you could have been invited by your host. The host who invited both of you will come and say to you, ‘Give your seat to this other person.’ Embarrassed, you will take your seat in the least important place. Instead, when you receive an invitation, go and sit in the least important place. When your host approaches you, he will say, ‘Friend, move up here to a better seat.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all your fellow guests. All who lift themselves up will be brought low, and those who make themselves low will be lifted up.””
Lent is about spiritual disciplines. Discipline is about intentionality and mindfulness. One discipline that grows our spirit is the practice of being mindful of others. For some of us, this is difficult.
Humility too often is associated with physical traits. “I don’t think I’m that handsome” does not make you humble. Recognizing that the voice, the opinion, the point of view, and the desire of the other, the outcast, the overlooked, the different, and the least of these is not less important than yours—this can be the starting place for a humble journey. Be intentional, even careful, about where you sit.
Prayer: “Lord, Grant in my a heart that is open to receiving your spirit of humility. Thy will, not my will, be done. Amen.”