“Then you will have honor in the presence of all who are reclining at the table with you.” Luke 14:10
How do you get the attention of others? Most of us crave recognition. If we don’t already, marketers are eager for us to get started. That’s why salons promise that you’ll “turn heads” if you buy their services. Home renovators say that with their products your home will be the “best on the block.” Drive into the neighborhood with the right car and the salesmen promise that you’ll “be the envy of all your friends.” There’s some truth to what they promise. Don’t fast cars and beautiful homes grab our attention? That’s not always a bad thing. Gifts like beauty and art come from our Creator. They can be blessings for us to enjoy.
While these purchases may be noticed, if you really want somebody’s attention it takes something more. If you really want to be recognized, you’ll need to do more than just spend money. I wonder if that’s what Jesus was getting at in our gospel from last Sunday. You may remember he described the shame of having to give up your seat at a banquet for somebody more important. Rather than enduring this embarrassment, he encouraged you to start out by sitting in a lower, humbler seat. Then, if you were sitting in the wrong seat and had to change, you would be upgraded to a better seat. As you moved up to that seat of honor, Jesus predicted, “Then you will have honor in the presence of all who are reclining at the table with you” In short, true honor starts with true humility.
Of course, this isn’t an invitation to play the reverse-psychology game. We don’t pretend to be humble just so we can receive a seat of honor. We don’t show off our humility just so that others can notice us. Both ideas are self-defeating. If you’re only interested in what you can get out of humility, you’re not really humble.
But real, genuine humility begins with an honest recognition of who we are. Compared to others, even Christians have no advantage. We all struggle with sinfulness and selfishness as much as the next. Consequently, we all must equally rely on Jesus. We’re entirely dependent on, and grateful for, his forgiveness. Our honor, our pride isn’t in what we’ve done for God but what he’s done for us. His grace and mercy have taken us from the lowest place and moved us to the highest place.
In that sense, you enjoy “honor in the presence of all who are reclining at the table with you”. In other words, when we start with humility people will take note. Every day we see people worried about themselves, trying to make it to the top. And we all see plenty of people who are, to a degree, already honored and successful. True humility, however, is much rarer. If people see somebody who is content to sit in a lower seat, they will notice that. If they watch somebody who needs to be asked to move to a better position, that will catch people’s attention.
As Christian’s we’re called to be lights in the world. One way we can do this is through our humility. Rather than judging everyone else, we’re just as aware of our own sins and grateful for God’s forgiveness. Rather than trying to be the best or buy the best to feel important, we find our value in what God has done for us. If we really want to stick out in the world, it means both being content and putting others first. We may leave the best for somebody else to enjoy or freely give away what we’ve received. When we do that, people will notice us. They’ll honor us for being different and, hopefully, glorify God as well.
Marketers have all sorts of ways for you to spend money to catch people’s attention. Jesus has a better way that doesn’t cost a dime. It’s an invitation to simply be honest with ourselves and grateful to him. In humility start there, and others will notice the change God works in your life.
Purchase a New Hymnal
If you would like to purchase a new Hymnal for your own personal use, there is a signup sheet in the back of Church. The cost is $25. Please let us know by next Sunday if you'd like one.
LWMS Fall Rally
This Fall on Saturday October 8, St. John will be hosting the Fall Wolf River Circuit LWMS Rally. At this Fall Rally, the Wolf River Circuit will be celebrating its 40 Anniversary. We will need the help of many men and ladies to help host this Rally. You don’t need to attend the monthly meetings to volunteer your time. We will need people to help with the Lunch and snacks. We will need help setting up things and cleaning up after. We will need help with registration and assisting the people as they arrive. All the ladies and men of the congregation are invited to volunteer and take part as we host this event. Please sign up on the sheet in the back of the church or call Kathy Schabo for more questions.
Heading off to College...or the military?
If you or somebody in your family is starting or returning to college, be sure to find a local church and share your contact information with campus ministry. Is somebody part of our military? You help them stay connected through our Military Services
Summer Sunday Morning Bible Class
Have you ever left a worship service and felt a little confused about the main points of the sermon for that day? We invite you to join us each Sunday for a brief Bible Study – starting at 9:10 am. We will spend the time digging in a little deeper into the sermon for that week. We encourage whole families to join us.
We continue to live-stream our services and post our worship folders online. We will be recording our Sunday 8:00 am service which means you can watch any time after 8:00 am on Sunday morning. If you need any help accessing these resources, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
You can find our worship services at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCCsQs-LDzlHE1NTjOaVaQ2A.
You can find a bulletin for each Worship Service so you can follow along here: https://stjohn-appleton.org/bulletins