The ‘worst seat’ is a state of mind  

08-27-15-faith-Zach's piecesSeveral years ago, my family and I, along with a large group of people, were invited to a friend’s house for dinner. At the time we were young, broke, and very excited to eat food.

When we arrived at the house, there were some tables sitting nicely on the patio that were clearly set for children. When we walked inside we were more than excited to find a beautifully decorated table with individual place settings. It looked amazing!

Just about the time we were supposed to find our seats, we were approached by our gracious host and informed that we would be sitting outside at the children’s table. Needless to say, we were not happy. In fact, it ruined our whole dinner.

It wasn’t so much that we were asked to sit outside that ruined it. To be honest, it was my attitude that ruined it. I was so furious because I wanted to sit at the ‘big boy’ table with the other adults that I lost sight of the privilege I had to sit at a table with my wife and children.

Did you know Jesus actually teaches us to take the worst seat? He says, “When you are invited to a wedding feast (a.k.a. dinner), don’t sit in the seat of honor.” What if someone who is more distinguished than you has also been invited? The host will come and say, “give this person your seat.” Then you will be embarrassed, and you will have to take whatever seat is left at the foot of the table! “Instead, take the lowest place at the foot of the table.” (Matthew 14:7-9)

Sometimes we become so focused on self-promotion and our own comfort that we miss out on a great opportunity. We can spend way too much time trying to figure out what’s best for us instead of what’s best for others. Sadly, I know I was and not just on this one occasion.

When we act like this, we miss out on a great opportunity not only to follow Jesus’ teaching but also to enjoy the moment.

Because of my bad attitude, and desire to have a better seat, I missed out. I missed the joy of being invited in the first place. And I missed having dinner with my wife and children and some life-long friends.

But my biggest mistake is that I missed out on honoring and serving the other guests sitting at the “big boy table.” How selfish of me to think I deserved to be there more than they did.

So don’t make the same mistake I did. Don’t miss out on the wonderful benefits of taking the worst seat.

 

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Finding peace in the storm

 

I remember hearing a story once of an art teacher who asked his class to paint a picture of peace. Several days later, as he walked through the classroom to inspect the students’ work, he came to the first student. He saw a painting of a beautiful sun setting over the ocean with birds flying in the air. The painting was amazing and it looked so peaceful.

As he continued through the classroom, he came to the next student and what he saw amazed him. It was a painting of a massive storm full of dark clouds, torrential rains, and heavy winds. Upon studying the painting a little closer, he noticed a bird in the side of the cliff calmly sitting in its nest, protected from the storm, asleep. It was then that the teacher exclaimed, “Now that is peace!”

If you’re like most of us you can relate more to the storms in life than you can to the sunsets. In fact, one of the things we all have in common is the search for peace during the difficult times in life.

The question we all ask is, “How do I find peace in life’s stormy weather?”

Thankfully, the Bible tells us that there is a way to have peace even in the middle of the worst situation. It says, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7)

Maybe for you peace seems impossible, hopeless, and far beyond your grasp. The good news is that you can experience peace, and the first step towards experiencing true peace is talking to God.

Talk to him about what’s going on. Let him know how you’re feeling and the troubles you’re going through. If you’re like most people, you’re probably saying, “Yes, I do that already!” And you’re probably right!

But have you thanked him for the good things he is doing and has already done? Often times we forget that part. We always tell him the problem, but we forget to thank him for our blessings and our past solutions.

When we do this, we begin to experience the peace of God. The Bible never promises that the storms of life will instantly stop if we pray. But what it does promise is that even while the storm is raging, peace is possible through Jesus Christ.

It doesn’t matter what you’re going through today, or how difficult it might seem. You can begin to walk down the road to peace by talking to God about your storm and thanking him for the good things he is doing in your life. If you do, God promises you will find peace and you will find the storm is much easier to weather.

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