Often in life it seems that we seek to Go Higher, we look forward to a promotion. Whether it is position, power, influence there are those who try to position themselves for importance. Some derive their importance based upon who they know. This happens so much sometimes we don’t know that we fall into it. The desire to move higher, to be recognized seems to be innate to the human ego and psyche. Freud called it the “vitamin A to the Ego.” This desire to be first, this desire to recognized this desire to be great.
Jesus message is actually one of humility. This counter cultural approach to greatness is not about our doing nor our desire, rather it is an invitation that God can place for us when he say: “My friend move up to a higher position.” What we learn here is that it’s not about our desire for greatness or prestige, but when we live in true humility, namely concerned more for the “other” than ourselves, more concerned that others needs are met, they are being provided for and cared for.
In the fourteenth chapter of the Gospel of Luke Jesus is presenting a parable to those who were seeking places of honor at banquets. Jesus warns that we not to be so quick to jump to the place of honor, because someone with greater significance might come and cause you to loose your seat. Namely, there is no need to promote yourself, rather your very life in its humble service others can speak for itself.
Self promotion, and grandeur has no place in the Church nor in true Christian living. It is when one becomes the servant of all that true greatness is found. In the simplicity of the Poor, the Marginalized and those living on the peripheries it is there that true greatness is found. The spouting off about oneself, ones own sense of greatness and superiority actually lowers an individual. The “look at me”, “look what I did”, I’m the best at everything” This is a self centered narcissism that in no way speaks to true greatness or service. We see it every day. If we turn on the TV, open our devices we will see and hear those who promote themselves as the greatest, the best, the only One. But Jesus’ teaching of the parable of the wedding banquet is a reminder that it is God that brings about the greatness in us through His action in our lives and hearts. All of a sudden, to our surprise when we least expect someone will call us, and invite us, “My Friend Come Up Higher!
This call or inviation is really for each of us. God so desires to work out His greatness in our lives. We have to be willing to step aside and let him make the move for us. Just in our own simple way, keep loving, keep serving, keep spending our lives for others. The emptying of self and pouring our lives in service of our sister and brothers God not only blesses, but he honors and he raises us to higher place. God so wants to raise each of us, to lift us up when we are down, to raise us to higher ground. It all has to happen in His time and His plan for our good and His greatness.
Let’s reach higher together as God’s people, in a common service and common love. Let us embrace those who have nothing and in them find the true meaning of greatness.