Ancient wisdom for today (25)

August 25th 2012, Day 25, Proverbs 25

“Don’t work yourself into the spotlight; don’t push yourself into the place of prominence. It is better to be promoted to a place of honour than face humiliation by being demoted” Proverbs 25:6-7 (The Message)

Over the years I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen people grasping for attention, recognition and pushing for prominent position. I recognise that the culture in the world around us tends to ignore people don’t behave this way but it seems to me that encouraging blinkered self-promotion is only going to perpetuate the same self-focussed mindset in us all. If we’re going to live in family / community then at some point we have to take a step back from this all-out struggle-to-be-noticed.
In my experience the taste of promotion awarded entirely at someone else’s initiative is far, far sweeter than the taste of promotion that comes about as a result of our own manipulation of people and events.
And, of course, as the author of today’s proverb points out, there is a huge risk of humiliation through seeking to promote ourselves to a position that others do not recognise is rightfully ours!

Jesus is recorded (in Luke 14: 7-11) as saying something similar,

He 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.
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. (The Message)