10 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 honored in the presence of all your fellow guests. 11  For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 14:10-11 (NIV)

 How special it is when someone unexpectedly honors us in some way in appreciation for something we have done. It is a much more pleasant experience than when we anticipate recognition that doesn’t come. Jesus is telling us in these verses that a spirit of humility is of great value, while those with a spirit of pride and self-seeking can only anticipate an embarrassing fall.

It seems appropriate to consider some forms of false humility. For instance, if someone does something very well–perhaps they sing beautiful solos or prepare fantastic meals–yet they habitually belittle his/her own performance; the appearance of humility may only be an attempt to fish for praise. 

So what should we do when we are praised for a job well done? We should acknowledge our honest appreciation to God for giving us the ability to do the task.

I must also share a confession from out of my past that still occasionally spills over into my present. I went through a long period in my life where I was starved for appreciation by the most important person in my life, one who willfully chose to withhold it. As a result of this void, when I received praise at church I was so grateful for it that I found it difficult to pass it on to God. It wasn’t that I didn’t appreciate the role God played in enabling me to perform, I was simply desperate to be affirmed as a person. It was as if I was saying “Yes! I did it!”

I don’t claim to have been justified in accepting and treasuring that praise. I only share it here for the sake of some unknown person who, too, may be starved for recognition and appreciation. Be gentle with him or her – the time will come when he/she will joyfully pass the praise on to God.

Lord, help us to always recognize our dependence on you. Enable us to sincerely humble ourselves as we walk through this life. Help us to seek your glory and not our own. And help us to honor those around us who serve you and others well.

Copyright © 2008 by Janice Green

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved.

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