One of the leaders of the ultra-orthodox sect known as the Pharisees decided to invite Jesus to his house for dinner. I imagine it was both a friendly gesture, as well as a risky one, since Jesus could say some difficult things. Jesus didn’t seem to care that he offended people who took their religion so seriously. Perhaps Jesus was just concerned about refining those who had grown too comfortable in their religion. They thought that they had “arrived” and ought to be admired for it.
As the other invited guests began to take their places, Jesus noticed how the places of honor were the first seats to go. Jesus responded to what He saw by saying, “When you are invited by anyone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in the best place, lest one more honorable than you be invited by him; and he who invited you and him come and say to you, ‘Give place to this man,’ and then you begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit down in the lowest place, so that when he who invited you comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, go up higher.’ Then you will have glory in the presence of those who sit at the table with you. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” (Luke 14:8–11)
What Jesus was teaching was more than just good wedding guest etiquette. He was teaching about life. We all long for recognition, but the best way to obtain recognition is to not seek it in the first place.