Lesson 2: Humility

I, YHWH, search into the heart, I probe the mind, to give to each person what their actions and conduct deserve.

– Jeremiah 17:10 (TIB)

Devotion: Read Luke 14:7-14. Jesus’ parable and comments offer us guidance that is the opposite of what we normally hear. In our culture, we are encouraged to befriend successful people, attend their parties, and strive for places of honor. What lifestyles are celebrated on television? In business? In sports? Jesus warns against pride and arrogance because God sees us for who we are on the inside. Wealth, fame, and certain physical appearances impress some, but for what qualities does God look? What are the social implications if we host a party using Jesus’ invitation guidelines? Who did your family look up to or down on when you were growing up? With whom have you spent time over the last month? How often do you leave your routine to initiate conversation or have a meal with someone outside your social circle? What might we do to increase the diversity of our churches? 

Personal Worship Option: Read Proverbs 22:1-4. What kind of “riches” do the humble receive? Spend time in prayer, asking God to provide opportunities to expand your social circle, your circle of influence, and your humility.

Dig A Little Deeper:

14:7 The “head of the table” has a special meaning for many people in American culture. Only certain people can sit at the head table at a wedding. In Jesus’ day, some seats at banquets and meals are positions of honor. These are assigned according to office, wealth, and power. Are there special places of honor in a church setting? Should there be any (Lk 11:43)?

14:8 Some people believe Jesus refers to those who are trying to gain special honor spiritually by strictly keeping the Law. If that is the case, his advice is be humble and trust that God properly places all of us where we need to be. Others think Jesus is talking about a general attitude of humility in life similar to Paul’s advice in 1 Thessalonians 4:11.

14:11 Humble people do not worry about exalting themselves but serving others. Pride-filled people who care more for themselves than for others will be taught their proper place before God. Read the other passages where Jesus makes this same statement (Lk 18:14; Mt 18:4; 23:12). Does the change in each of these settings change how we hear Jesus’ words?

14:12 In first century Roman culture, social status works by reciprocity. Hospitality is given only to those you know can return the kindness by providing gifts or service of the same “value.” It is considered rude to give a gift to someone who will then be embarrassed by their inability to reciprocate. Are modern hospitality expectations different? Jesus provides a completely different way to look at hospitality. According to him, when will we receive repayment? Read Luke 1:46-55.

14:13 What are the implications of these words given that the blind and lame are forbidden from entering the Temple?  

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