In Luke 14, Jesus was invited by a certain chief Pharisee to “eat bread” in his house. Other Pharisees had been invited as well, men who, like the host, were leading keepers of the law.
When the host called his guests to be seated, there was a sudden scramble for the chief seats at the head table. Scripture tells us that as Jesus observed this, “he marked how they chose out the chief rooms (seats)” (Luke 14:7). It was a brazen display of pride, a need to be seen and recognized.
When Christ himself sat down to eat, he gave that roomful of Israel’s top religious leaders this word of rebuke: “When thou art bidden (invited) of any man…sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honorable man than thou be bidden of him; and he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room.
“But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room: that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of that sit at meat with thee. For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted” (Luke 14:8-11, italics mine).
Christ’s words in this scene apply to all of his followers. Yet as he considered his audience at that Pharisee’s house, he was describing a particular type of leader: those who “love greetings in the market, and the highest seats in the synagogues, and the chief rooms at feasts…and for a show make long prayers" (Luke 20:46-47).
In short, Jesus tells us, there are men and women who do good works only to be seen by others. These people love the spotlight and are constantly blowing a trumpet for themselves. This applies to ministers but it is also a word for every child of God
Jesus said, “Take the lowest seat in the house.” What exactly does he mean when he gives us that statement? We must take this particular word from the Lord very seriously. He is inviting us, all of us, to “come up higher,” into a place of righteous honor. This call “to come up higher” is a call to enter into the fullness of God’s touch. It is a call to have a richer intimacy, and to become a more convincing, sure, righteous oracle of the Lord.