DON'T GO HUNTING FOR HONOR.
There's a story told of a famous man called Principal Cairns, who was so humble that he would never even enter a room first. He would always stand aside and say to his companions, "You first. I'll follow."
On one occasion this man was among the honored guests at some public event. As he stepped onto the platform, the audience saw Cairns and erupted in applause. Upon hearing their applause, he stopped in his tracks. He motioned for the man behind him to go first, assuming that the clapping and cheering was for that man. He then stood back and joined the applause. He never dreamed the applause could be for him.
Of course, such sincere humility impressed people and brought even greater honor to Principal Cairns. That's sort of what Jesus meant when he said, "The proud will be humbled, but the humble will be honored" (Luke 14:11). When you act like you think you're big and important, it can be embarrassing to find out that you're not as big or not as important as you thought. But when you're humble enough to let other people get the applause and attention, you may be surprised at how much people appreciate you and honor you.
Hunters will tell you that it's better not to peer into the woods and brush, trying to see a deer (or whatever it is you're hunting); instead, you should keep a wide field of vision, not trying to focus too tightly on anything, because it's easier to see small movements out of the corner of your eye. In other words, the harder you look, the less likely you are to see what you're looking for. It's kind of the same with humility and honor. If you go hunting for compliments or applause, you're less likely to get it; but if you're not looking too hard, you might be surprised at the honor that will come your way.
REFLECT: Jesus was a guest in a Pharisee's house when he spoke the words found in Luke 14:7-11. To find out a little more about the Pharisees (and Jesus' views on pride and position), see Matthew 23:1-12.
Do you ever "go hunting" for compliments? for attention? for applause? Do you want to be more like the guests at the banquet (in Luke 14), who competed for position, or like Jesus, who "did not demand and cling to his rights as God [but] made himself nothing" and humbled himself (Philippians 2:6-7)? What are some ways you can do that?
ACT: Try to imitate Principal Cairns today by letting others enter a room before you, perhaps even telling them, "You first. I'll follow."
PRAY: "Lord, forgive me for the times when I've demanded my rights."