One Christian is as Good as the Next

Pentecost 15 Friday

Luke 14:7

“He told a parable to the guests when he noticed how they chose to sit in places of honor.”

How do these two fit together: Sitting in a place of honor is wrong and right at the same time? For sitting in a place of honor is not forbidden, and Christ himself, as we see in the text, does say: “If you are invited, sit in a lowly place, so that he who invited you, tell you to move to a place of honor, ” etc. What does Christ mean when he says that we should not sit in a place of honor, but also says that he who sits in a lowly place should be seated in a place of honor? The answer here depends on the word “choosing,” where the text says: “when he noticed how they chose to sit in places of honor”…
People must sit in places of honor or in lowly places…We cannot all be princes, counts, preachers, noblemen, burghers,
men, women, lords, or servants. Rather, there must be many different stations in life in a community, and everyone has enough to do in his station in life. Thus, we should not and cannot all sit in honor or in lowly places. And there must be a difference, ordained by God, that he in a higher station in life also be seated in higher honor than the others…Yet it depends on properly understanding Christ’s meaning and words: You should know that if you are of a higher station in life than others, or if you have another advantage before others, God has given this to you. Yet not in order to pride yourself in such gift and to exalt yourself above everybody else as if you were therefore better before God than others. Rather, he commanded you that you use your office and gifts to go below yourself and serve your neighbor… Therefore, if you have the gift from God that you are mightier, higher, more learned, or nobler than others, consider that he commanded you to serve others by this gift…For God did not create, or invite to his kingdom, only princes, counts, noblemen, or scholars. For God, one Christian is as good as the next, as our Creed confesses: “I believe in God, Creator of heaven and earth.” Therefore, do not think that only you should sit in honor and need not give your place to anyone. For the same God who made you a lord, regent, doctor, or teacher is also the God of the poor beggar outside your door. His eyes zealously watch over the beggar as much as they watch over the greatest lord or prince on earth. In summary, whether you sit in honor, in the middle, or in the lowest place, the Creed makes all things equal when it confesses: “We all believe in one God, Creator of heaven and earth,” etc…If you want to be proud and arrogant in your lordly station in life and despise the others, God takes, e.g., a humble peasant’s servant and regards and exalts him over all emperors and kings, as he did with Joseph, David, and Daniel.

St. Louis ed., 12:1977-1979.

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