Spiritual life: The kingdom of God rewards selflessness

PUBLISHED: 14:36 12 September 2018 | UPDATED: 14:36 12 September 2018


Where do you most like to sit when you go to a theatre or concert hall?

I’ve recently been to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and I noticed that most people who get to a venue early enough scramble to get seats on the front row.

That’s very different from the behaviour at our Sunday church services! We also behave differently when we go for a meal at someone’s home. We’d normally take the seat which our host chooses for us.

The gospels mention an occasion when Jesus noticed how the guests selected their places at a dinner party, with the most important people taking up the places of honour, sitting near the host.

He advised folk to avoid picking the places of honour, which they’d have to give up if someone more important arrived.

It would be wiser to wait to be invited to a better seat.

Jesus was presenting people with a new way of looking at things.

Human society teaches us to push our way to the top of the pile and fight for our honour and reputation.

The kingdom of God, in contrast, works in opposition to this attitude.

It teaches that if we surrender our lives before God he will lift us up – but if we try to make ourselves bigger before God, he will put us in our place.

“For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”

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