Go For the Cheap Seats

I really don’t like “General Admission” seating. When I have a ticket to an event, I prefer a reserved seat . . . a spot I know that I can place my keester regardless of how early, or not, I arrive. There’s something about “General Admission” that can bring out the worst in some people. Recently, at my daughter’s graduation, where we needed a ticket to get in, but had no assigned seating, we saw a bit of an ugly scene play out.

People were waiting at the door well in advance of its opening so they could be the first to rush in and grab the prime seating. We managed to avoid standing in line but were still among the first to get in as someone told us there was an entrance on the other side of the building that people were unaware of. Bonus! No waiting in line . . . still with a shot at some good seats. We found some seats . . . parked ourselves . . . and then had a front row view of a drama that played itself out in front of us while we waited for the ceremony to begin.

What looked to be a large family had come to proudly watch their graduating student “walk.” Actually, only two or three had managed to be among the early arrivals and they had staked a lot of territory in front of us in order to reserve it for those yet to arrive. Now, holding seats for others in “General Admission” situations isn’t that unusual, but the number that this small entourage tried to “call dibs on” seemed a bit much. Not only to me, but to another lady who was very much of the “first come, first served” persuasion. And she plunked herself down right in the middle of this family’s intended “reserved seating” and proceeded to pull out her camera and line it up for the perfect shot of her grad when they walked.

Needless to say, it sparked some words to be exchanged in front of us. A lady who was holding seats tried to get the lady who was sitting in the seat to leave . . . and the firmly seated lady wasn’t having it. The first lady’s argument? . . . we were here first and are saving those seats for the rest of our family. The firmly seated lady’s counter-argument? . . . Tough! I am here now and I want this preferred seating and I am staking claim to this seat. And so camera lady sat amidst the big family . . . all who were there except for the one who had to find another seat somewhere else.

Ok Pete . . . interesting (or not) story. So what’s the point?

This story came to mind because of a kingdom principle I came across in one of my readings this morning. Go for the cheap seats.

“But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”   ~ Jesus (Luke 14:10-11 ESV)

I’ve been invited into the kingdom of God . . . by the grace of God . . . through the wooing of the Spirit . . . on the basis of the finished work of the cross of Christ. Don’t deserve to get in. But, by faith in the good news that Jesus came to save sinners, I’ve been admitted as a blood-bought guest of the Son. And in a sense, though I have an “inheritance incorruptible and undefiled and that does not fade away reserved for me in heaven” (1Peter 3:5), right now it’s kind of like “General Admission” as I find my place in the kingdom. And Jesus says, go in looking to sit in the lowest place. Even though you might think you deserve a better seat because you arrived early (or for some other reason), take the last one . . . take the one no one else is rushing to . . . take the one behind the pillar . . . take the one next to the bathroom . . . take the cheap seats. For God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble (1Peter 5:5).

I need to clothe myself in humility and not assert my right to be “up front” . . . or demand a seat with a good view. In humility, I need to count others more significant than myself (Php. 2:3). I need to be like my Savior who humbled Himself and opted for the cross rather than the throne during His first visit to earth, that the will of God might be accomplished.

Mine is to take the lowly place . . . to opt for the cheap seats . . . and leave it to the LORD to move me up to “better seating” if and when He chooses. After all, isn’t that the only reserved seat that really means anything? The seat of His choosing? I’m thinkin’ . . .

By His grace . . . for His glory . . .

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