Monday, October 31, 2011

Choosing Your Chair

It's interesting what Jesus notices. He noticed how people gave their offerings in the Temple treasury (Mark 12:41-44). Jesus noticed how the invited guests at a wedding feast were picking out the places of honor for themselves (Luke 14:7-11). They were scrambling to get to the most prestigious seats.

At these feasts, the guests sat on a couch that had 3 seats around a table called a "triclinium." Nine people could be seated at a time. The most important seat was in the exact middle, and the 2nd and 3rd most important were to his right and left. Remember, James and John wanted to sit on Jesus' right and left in His kingdom (Mark 10:37). Seats 4-6 were to the right side, and seats 7-9 were on the left. If you looked at the triclinium, you could instantly see who was #1 in importance and who was #9. People would arrive early so they could sit in the seats of honor. They wanted to look more important than others. Their self-esteem and significance was determined by their chairs!

We don't find significance in chairs today. Or do we? Yes, we still have chairs today, although they don't look like chairs. Here are some "modern-day chairs" that people sit in, trying to feel significant: Popularity, the brand of clothes you wear, your number of Facebook friends, the car you drive, the house you live in, your salary, educational degrees, your physical appearance, your success, your job title, and trying to be famous.  Although these things aren't wrong in themselves, many people use them to determine their self-esteem.

Jesus told the invited guests, "But when you are invited, go and sit in the last seat."  Why would He tell us to do that? It's because He doesn't want our significance determined by a chair. God wants us to find our self-esteem in relationship to Him. We'll talk more about that next week.