In Luke 14, Jesus watches guests at a dinner arrive and arrange themselves around the table. It seems everyone is trying to sit in the chairs of honour. They want those special chairs reserved for the “important” guests of the gathering.
Jesus remarks that we should not be striving for the most coveted seat because what if someone else comes along who deserves it more than we do? Then we’ll look like the fool and be forced to give up that seat for someone else. We won’t be as important as we think we are. Maybe we aren’t in the first place.
It’s been a long time since the church has had a prominent seat in Canadian culture. There once was a time when the leaders of the national churches could call upon the Prime Minister to discuss matters. And there were times when local clergy would work closely with locally elected officials to meet the needs of the community.
Those days are long gone.
Now the churches struggle for relevance in society. Once powerful houses of influence, the church wonders what caused this change…
There’s a new generation running the world around us. A generation that, somewhere along the line, lost it’s connection with God through the edifice we call a “church.”
Sometimes people need to work hard in life to get ahead. Sometimes there’s a lot of dirty work involved before one gets respect from others. Some call it “paying your dues.”
So maybe we need to begin again. Maybe we need to start out at the “kiddie” table and work our way back to the “big people” table. Maybe we’ll never return. Maybe it was never our place to begin with.
Somewhere we lost our way. Once we arrived in the seat near the head of the table, we thought we had made it. We had influence. We had people. We had money.
Slowly it has been slipping away. All of it. And now it seems there isn’t much left.
Somewhere along the line we forgot why we’re here. We lost our focus, the reason for our existence. So we need to be reminded of what Jesus asked the founders of the church to do as he gave them their final instructions.
He said to go out, baptize, teach, heal, proclaim, so that people would know God.
We are here to win people for God.
We are here to build people up in the knowledge and relationship with God through Jesus Christ.
We are here send people out to start the process again.
We need to humble ourselves before God and let Him guide us through the process again. We need to start over.
“For all who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” He said also to the one who had invited him, “When you give a luncheon or a dinner, do not invite your friends or your brothers or your relatives or rich neighbours, in case they may invite you in return, and you would be repaid. But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. And you will be blessed, because they cannot repay you, for you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.” (Luke 14:11-14)
Win. Build. Send.
How are we doing?