I recently flew on Southwest Airlines for the first time in a very long time. Southwest always has great rates, and their staff members are specifically sarcastic which is a love language of mine. One of the things that intrigues me the most about flying Southwest is the way they handle seats and boarding.
Instead of everyone having a pre-assigned seat, you are put into a boarding group and have a boarding number. When it was time to get on the plane my boarding group all stood up and we were instructed to get in line in order based on the number on our boarding ticket.
The thing that stood out was that this process removed all need or ability for us to strive and get ahead of anyone on the plane. If I were honest I always want to beat people onto the plane – I want to try and get a good seat preferably near the front and if possible with a little extra leg room. I want whatever position is best.
This experience made me think of the position I pick in other environments. Wherever we work, wherever we live, wherever we serve and lead we pick seats. The question is where are the seats you pick for yourself? Do you tend to pick the best possible seat? Do you leave the best for others and take a lessor position?
Jesus challenged His listeners to take the humble seat. In fact Jesus gave us something of a playbook to help understand our desire to be first or better than others.
For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted. – Luke 18:14
Jesus even told a parable to help highlight this truth – in Luke 14:7-14 He tells a story about a wedding banquet. In this parable he instructs the audience to take a lower position out of humility and allow the one in charge to invite you into a better seat.
These words of Jesus are familiar to the ear, but are they familiar to our will? Do you find yourself looking for ways to lift others up ahead of yourself? On your team or in your family – do you think about what is best for you or what is best for those around you?
It is far too easy to cultivate in our lives a habit and attitude that says, “I must get ahead!” Our world is desperate for people to embody the attitude of Christ, which calls us to value others ahead of ourselves.
Consider today what places in your life God might be calling you to take a more humble position. Ask yourself where God might be calling you to stop striving for position.