Where You Sit Matters!

Luke 14:1,7-14

We have long understood the power of a seating arrangement-from where you sit at a dinner party-at the head of the table or at the kids table or where you sit at a wedding-with the bridal party or next to the buffet to where you sit at church-in your regular pew or as far back as possible. There have even been studies on something called ‘the power seat’ where you sit at a table if you are trying to gain the advantage in certain situation.

When I think about the family table in the kitchen in my parents’ house-where we would sit growing up, I know we always sat in the same positions every time we sat at the table for meals. We had our ‘spots’ or places where we would sit down for a meal together after a day of work and school or for Sunday dinners. Siting at that table was less about power and more about sharing the joy of being home together, but we did notice if all the seats weren’t filled like the time my brother went off to serve in the military. We all had our seats and where we sat mattered and we always sat in the same place.

Even our legends acknowledge the power of a seat. Like King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Sitting at a round table came to symbolize equality because there was not head of the table. All had an equal seat and an equal say.

When my wife and I purchased our first table, it was a round one and today it is in our grand-daughters home, continuing the family tradition that we are all equally important ant we all have something to say and all have an important/equal place at the table.

Where you sat in Jesus’ day also mattered. Guests invited to someone’s home would long to be invited to sit in the coveted ‘highest place (in a U-shaped, the far left corner) because it was considered a place of honor. The place where others could see what kind of person you were viewed as in the community. Jesus lived in an honor and shame culture. We still do today.

Jesus was being watched that day because people wondered where he would sit. And he told them the parable.

Jesus explained that in the Kingdom of God, you always choose the lowest position, not to dumb yourself down but to give the place of honor to the ones you would least expect to sit there–, the poor, the disenfranchised, the forgotten ones in our society and in our world.

In the Kingdom of God, the seats of honor go away. Read Mary’s Song, the Magnificat, in the first chapter of Luke.

What Jesus is trying to teach us in this parable isn’t about who can gain the most honor, or helping only those people who can return the favor or repay us-instead it is about helping people who are in need, not matter who they are or how they are seen in our world. Because the truth is, if we are being really honest-we know that none of us really deserves God’s honor. None of us deserves God’s love-that’s why we have God’s grace.

Jesus invited us to show people a glimpse of God’s kingdom. By taking the lowest seat, by putting relationships before honor. Where you sit matters And in God’s kingdom, everyone has a seat!