Luke 14:10-11 But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, "Friend, move up to a better place." Then you will be honoured in the presence of all your fellow guests. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.
When my daughter and I attended a concert recently, we were disappointed to discover that our seats were quite a bit farther from the stage than the TicketMaster chart had led us to believe. "At least we're not in the nosebleed section," we rationalized, glancing up to the highest tier of the Orlando Arena.
As the black-clad roadies prepared the set for the opening act, a deejay from the radio station sponsoring the event announced that he had tickets for front row seats to give away. The two recipients would be randomly selected from the upper deck and could each bring a guest with them to the front row. The entire audience cheered as the elated winners whooped and "high-fived" their way down to the coveted center front seats.
The joy of those four exalted ones continued throughout the concert, and we could clearly see them as they exuberantly danced, swayed, and clapped to the music, moreso than the others, it seemed. Even the performers got caught up in the excitement, reaching over to shake their hands or give away a guitar pick now and then.
During the drive home, after we had critiqued and compared the performances of Pat Benatar and Styx, I ventured cautiously into a "teaching moment," mentioning the obvious happiness experienced by the four lucky winners.
"You know, I think that's what it will be like in heaven. We'll always feel like those lucky winners – as though we're getting far more than we're entitled to, but very happy and not at all apologetic about it."
I think she got it.
Prayer: Almighty God and Father, thank you for loving us so much that you give us glimpses of our heavenly life with you, in images that we can understand. Holy Spirit, thank you for giving me the wisdom to recognise you at work, and the restraint needed to share the lesson appropriately. Jesus, my Brother and my Lord, thank you for teaching with examples that are as relevant today as they were 2,000 years ago. Amen.