The best seat in the house…

Self-promotion can be a high risk activity.

Faith & Reflection

Self-promotion can be a high risk activity. Christian Herter (1895–1966), was running for re-election as governor of Massachusetts. Due to his hectic schedule he’d missed breakfast and lunch. Arriving late at an evening barbecue he took his place in line. He held out his plate and received one piece of chicken. He asked the serving lady, “Would you mind if I get another piece of chicken? I’m very hungry.” The woman replied, “Sorry, just one piece per person.” He repeated, “But I’m starved!” She replied curtly, “One piece per customer.” Herter, normally a modest man, deciding to use the weight of his office said, “Madam, do you know who I am? I’m the governor of this state!” She answered, “Do you know who I am? I’m the lady in charge of chicken. Move it along, mister.”

A young man who used to attend my church several years ago invited us to his wedding. We’d been close friends with his family so we were pleased to attend.

We arrived a bit ahead of time and so did the groom’s father. He was seated in the reserved area for close family members and he asked us to come and sit with him. As we enjoyed an amicable visit, family members began to come in and fill up the pews. He assured us that we were just like family and that we should stay there with him. We thanked him for his warm invitation, but moved to the general seating area. As the family pews filled completely, we felt fairly certain that our staying would have created overcrowding or worse yet, we may have been asked to move!

I was reminded of one of Jesus’ parables in which Jesus powerfully addressed self-promotion. “When Jesus noticed that all who had come to the dinner were trying to sit in the seats of honor near the head of the table, he gave them this advice: 8 “When you are invited to a wedding feast, don’t sit in the seat of honor. What if someone who is more distinguished than you has also been invited? 9 The host will come and say, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then you will be embarrassed, and you will have to take whatever seat is left at the foot of the table! 10 “Instead, take the lowest place at the foot of the table. Then when your host sees you, he will come and say, ‘Friend, we have a better place for you!’…” (Luke 14:7 – 10).

“Promotion comes neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. 7 But from God…” (Psalm 75:6, 7).

The best seat in the house is found by humbly sitting where we belong!


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