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Luke 14:1, 7-14, Humility Without Self-Deprecation

Key Verse

When he noticed how the guests chose the places of honor, [Jesus] told them a parable.
— Luke 14:7

RCL Daily Devotion for Sunday, September 1, 2019

RCL Daily Devotions written by Dr.. Kimberly Leetch from RCL Worship Resources (see more).

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Main Idea: We can be humble without beating ourselves up.

I’m going to be honest. This is a tough text for me to unpack. I was raised (maybe you were, too) to sit at the low end of the table. I was taught it’s not okay to brag. It’s not okay to exalt yourself. Stay humble and be self- deprecating. I cannot imagine sitting at the head of the table as a guest at the banquet. We are taught to apologize for everything, even things that require no remorse. “Oh, I went through the door before you... I’m sorry!” “Oops, I bumped your arm... I’m sorry!” “I spoke at the same time as you... I’m sorry!” I am quite adept at sitting so low, there is nowhere to go but up.

Far too long stories like these have been used to silence ones with no voice. Be humble at all costs. Never brag. Put yourself down. Always put others first. But I don’t think this is what Jesus meant at all. Jesus was concerned with the self-exalting of people already in power, using their power as a means to keep poor people poor, sick people sick, exiled people exiled. The Pharisees’ words were outward expressions of inward demons of selfishness, intolerance, and even cruelty. Jesus challenged them to behave better.

I believe behaving better means being better towards others and being better towards one’s self. There is no glory in beating yourself up in the name of humility. There is no good that can come from putting others first to the point you have completely lost yourself. You are one of the people Jesus asks you to care for. Be proud when you have accomplished something to be proud of. (Climbing the ladder by stepping on others is not pride-worthy, but rising to the top and bringing others with you certainly is!) Be humble when humility is warranted. Love yourself so you can be someone with the ability to love others.

My take-away would be this. It’s not okay to brag... about things that I did not actually accomplish. It’s not okay to exalt myself... at the expense of others. I can stay humble without being self-deprecating. I can hear Jesus’ words, and at the same time treat myself at least we well as I treat others.

Where do you find balance in loving yourself appropriately?


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Luke 14:1, 7-14

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