29th August 2022

“When you are invited to a wedding feast, don’t sit in the seat of honour. What if someone who is more distinguished than you has also been invited? 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! 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!’ Then you will be honoured in front of all the other guests. For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Luke 14:8–11, NLT)

New Testament scholar Darrell Bock says of this parable: “Jesus’ point is not that we should connive to receive greater honour. Rather, he is saying that honour is not to be seized; it is awarded. Jesus is not against giving honour to one who deserves it, but he is against the use of power and prestige for self-aggrandizement. God honours the humble, and the highway of humility leads to the gate of heaven. Those who are truly humble persons recognize their desperate need for God, not any right to blessing.” (Luke, IVP New Testament Commentary Series, 1994)

The contrast with the current political leadership contest could not be starker. That is not a place where I have heard much humility. Plenty of self-aggrandizement, though. Perhaps it is an inevitable consequence of how politics seems to be about the one person whose voice drowns out all the others. But surely there is a better way to govern? Perhaps it begins with humility.

Ian Waddington