HEY! That’s MY Seat!
Who are your friends?
Or better yet, I should ask, who do you strive to have as your friends? As in, if you were going to have a party at your house, who would you want to invite for the evening? Surely it would run through your mind to invite someone popular? You know, the life of the party person? The one you can tell everyone you had over and who in turn, might invite you to one of their fabulous parties in return?
Or how about this? When you go to that party, are you scouring the room for the best possible social viewpoint? Is there a person you try your hardest to avoid? That you excuse yourself away from as quickly as possible because there are just so many other interesting people to talk to?
I’ve been there, believe me. Sometimes you even try to hide from that person or hear them coming and run the other way. Sometimes, there is even a very nice person, but one that is just not the most popular or glamorous of the group to associate with.
Or let’s go the other route. Maybe you feel like you’re the person people avoid. You’ve joined a small group at church and just haven’t received an outside invite from anyone in the group. You’ve cleared your schedule or rearranged your work load to be able to attend that ladies Bible study and just don’t feel you fit in.
Jesus spoke very clearly about popularity in one His parables “The Arrogant Guest”. You don’t hear this parable preached very often or even talked about. Why? Perhaps it’s because as humans, humbleness is one of the hardest goals to attain out there.
I mean it. Humbleness to most of us ranks right up there with chewing our own arm off or going to the dentist. We just really find it hard to be humble, and the flesh battle between “look at me” and “pick me last” is a really, really tough inner battle to contend with.
I love the labeling of this scripture in The Message version of the bible. It’s called “Invite the Misfits” in Luke 14:7-14:
7-9He went on to tell a story to the guests around the table. Noticing how each had tried to elbow into the place of honor, he said, “When someone invites you to dinner, don’t take the place of honor. Somebody more important than you might have been invited by the host. Then he’ll come and call out in front of everybody, ‘You’re in the wrong place. The place of honor belongs to this man.’ Red-faced, you’ll have to make your way to the very last table, the only place left.
10-11“When you’re invited to dinner, go and sit at the last place. Then when the host comes he may very well say, ‘Friend, come up to the front.’ That will give the dinner guests something to talk about! What I’m saying is, if you walk around with your nose in the air, you’re going to end up flat on your face. But if you’re content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself.”
12-14Then he turned to the host. “The next time you put on a dinner, don’t just invite your friends and family and rich neighbors, the kind of people who will return the favor. Invite some people who never get invited out, the misfits from the wrong side of the tracks. You’ll be—and experience—a blessing. They won’t be able to return the favor, but the favor will be returned—oh, how it will be returned!—at the resurrection of God’s people.”
I’ve always loved and identified with the Island of Misfit Toys on the Rudolph cartoon. An entire island of toys that had lost their identity based on their outward appearance, which had been cast out by the popular people. And that’s what this passage of scripture is about.…our identity.
Where do you find your identity?
Do you find it in what people think, or what God thinks?
I used to find my identity in people. It took something in my life that rocked my world and made me sort of “unpopular” among the churchy folk. For you see, fifteen years ago, I got divorced.
I had always been the center of the social scene at my church, even for years having been the Social Planner Chairman of our Sunday school class. And now, I didn’t fit into the “perfect Christian” mold anymore. I didn’t know where to fit in. I didn’t know HOW to fit in or who to fit in with. And suddenly I could relate to being that person folks might have gone the other way from. Who wants to deal with the heavy talk of a divorcee? Right?
And it opened my heart and my eyes to see those people now. I will talk to the highest up boss or the custodian at my job. I now look for friends who are real and who I can be real around and I think it’s pretty clear up in the above verse that this is the way Jesus wants us to be.
And you know what? I’m all about blessings. If you switch your identity to what God thinks about you, you honestly won’t care anymore about where you fit in with people. But the great thing is that God promises to bless you. I honestly believe a big part of that blessing comes immediately, when your heart loves the misfits, or the unpopular. Something inside of you melts and continues to spread throughout your heart and soul.
It’s called “love”.
And you know what else? I’ve found those people are truly some of the best friends I’ve found in life. I feel like I can be myself around them. And it’s wonderful. They have been loyal, and giving and loving.
Where is your identity today friend? Join me in letting it be in God. It will rock your world.
Katie and her Mr. Wonderful enjoy working with youth, cooking, boating and hanging out with their six kids, one granddaughter and houseful of animals. Katie also writes the blog Dishin and Dishes, where she “dishes” about all things food. Katie also hosts a cooking/restaurant review segment on the local Oklahoma City morning news Program -Rise and Shine Oklahoma!