The Lowest Place

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Jesus taught us that the way to accomplish dominion (of the sort He envisioned) was through faithful service. The one who humbles himself is exalted, and the one who exalts himself shall be humbled. The first shall be last, and the last first. Seeking dominion, which is an individual ability to extend the influence of the kingdom of God, is a noble pursuit. Because it is a noble pursuit, Jesus requires that we pursue it in a noble way.

When Jesus points out the seats of honor at the banquet, it is not often noticed that He does so in a context where He is teaching us how to get there. He wants His followers to want to be great in the kingdom. But the way to do this is to become the servant of all.

But we tend to fall into opposite (and equally pernicious) errors on this. Either, we start clambering to the “chief seats” in the kingdom, and this is why the host then embarrasses us by escorting us to the lower seats. But then there is the super-spiritual approach which takes the lowest seat, voluntarily, just as Jesus required. Then, when the host comes to promote us, we say, “Oh, no, that would be ungodly.” We then start a fight with the host of the banquet for enticing us with such worldly inducements. When we start yelling, the servants then grab us where the pants hang loose and frog march us to the door, and down the steps we go. At the bottom, we brush ourselves off gratefully. “At last. Here is the lowest place.”

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