Going Higher by Going Lower

By Michael Christian


When people attend a social event, unless they are total wallflowers, they try to sit near the important and popular guests, hoping to schmooze a little, get noticed, make a business acquaintance. Perhaps some suppose that if they can only get close enough, the success of others will somehow rub off on them. Jesus, interestingly, commented on identical behavior going on in his day. Human nature hasn’t changed a bit.

He told a story of how some of those invited to a wedding feast desired to sit near the head of the table next to the important guests, only to have their host ask them to move down to make room for someone else. How humiliating! But He went on to say that if we would take the lowest place, seek no special attention, and be content in who we are in Him, we would be exalted in due season. He said, “For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 14:7-11)

In Other Words, to Go Higher We Have to Go Lower First!

To take the lowest place…

  • I have to be willing to die to my reputation and crucify my pride. Who I am is never determined by where I sit.
  • I have to quit comparing myself to others. If So-and-So gets to sit at the head table, what is that to me? My job is to follow Jesus. (John 21:20-22)
  • I need to remember that promotion does not come from the east or west, but from the Lord. (Psalm 75:6-7) What I need to go higher is not preferential seating, but the favor of God. One social event will never determine my destiny.

Going Lower Requires Faith and Confidence in God

To willingly humble myself and take the lowest place requires a lot of faith in God.

    • I need faith to overcome the nagging fear that if I do not promote myself no one else will, and my dreams will never be accomplished, and I will die a failure.
    • I need faith to overcome the fear that if no one “important” pays attention to me I am therefore not of value. We are all of value because we have been made in the image and likeness of God.
    • I need faith to overcome the fear that if I do not get the social affirmation I seek I may be crushed and have a hard time handling life tomorrow.

All of these personal, inward, and often unexpressed fears are overcome by faith in the Lord and His provision for our wholeness. Being willing to take the lowest place does not mean we hold too low of an opinion of ourselves, but that we are humble, flexible, confident in who we are in Christ, and trust God to exalt us when He is ready, and we are ready.

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