And he put forth a parable to those which were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief rooms; saying unto them, When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable 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 them that sit at meat with thee. For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.Luke 14:7-11
Previously, we saw the motivation of the Pharisee (host of the party), the hurting man, and Jesus. They were all at the dinner party but had drastically different motives for being there. After Jesus heals the man, He takes the opportunity to teach the people gathered there. He begins with those that were invited to the dinner.
When the host opened the doors to his house, Jesus observed how all the guests jockeyed for the best places to sit at the party. Jesus could see that these men all came to be recognized as important men in the eyes of the host and community.
So, Jesus teaches a very practical lesson to them that also has spiritual application.
In a practical sense, they want to be seen as important. Therefore, if they choose one of the best seats at the dinner but the host tells them to give up their spot for someone else, what seat is left for them? The lowest and east honored is all that is left. And what comes with that move to the lowest seat? Dishonor. That is the exact opposite of what they are looking for.
This is easily understood by these men.
But the spiritual lesson is much more important to consider. These men sought to have a good reputation among men, but they could not do that very well. How then could they possibly be gaining favor with God with such attitudes and motivations?
If we seek to have favor from men, we may or may not get it. But, we certainly will not be gaining favor with God when we are so focused on ourselves. In fact, God despises such behavior. He will humble the proud in time and in eternity.
The best thing that these men could have done would be to fight for the lowest seat and care for the man with dropsy.
The best thing that we can do is to humble ourselves and seek out others that we can help.
This is well-pleasing to God.