Unwrapping That Christmas Feeling

Posted: December 28, 2015 in Uncategorized

PresentboxChristmas is over and this week the trash collectors will be coming around to take out our mountains of wrapping paper and empty boxes – the leftovers of our plastic-packed parties. I often hear Christian parents lamenting how commercial Christmas has become and how they want to downplay the presents and materialism of the holiday for their children. My wife and I have tried this over the years in different ways, and yet those little buggers that we call our kids keep getting excited for Christmas morning.

It doesn’t matter what we do. Dollar store gifts – excited. Limit the gifts to three each, like baby Jesus – excited. We’ve even wrapped up old toys – excited. Are our children really that materialistic or is there something more going on. Well, yes they are…and yes there is.

What is it that makes Christmas morning something that lives on in our hearts for the rest of our lives? It’s something that we adults continue to try to capture as we get carried away with the many ways we have fun with the kids and tap into our “inner elves.” We’re desperate to get back to the magic of being so exited we can’t sleep a wink, wondering what we will wake up to, who we will visit that day and what new things await. I don’t think it’s just the “stuff” that gets their heart pumping. It’s the prospect of being completely together with family and loved ones on a day off from work. It’s the possibility of seeing friends and sharing with them what new things they discovered or received. It’s the feasting and the newness of what might be next. It’s the warmth of togetherness. And it’s the gifts.

It hit me this year when I saw the delight in my children’s faces that perhaps that feeling of excitement on Christmas morning is closer to any other time in this life to the way they will feel when Jesus comes back and we are with him in person forever. That might be one of the coolest things about Christmas now to me!

The sheer delight of what’s to come must be what it felt like for the disciples who woke up each day not knowing what would be next or what they would see, but knowing it was gonna be good because of who they were with. That’s what’s in store for us when he comes back for us. It’s the prospect of being completely together with family and loved ones on a day off from work (“Now we who believe enter that rest…” Hebrews 4:3). It’s the possibility of seeing friends and sharing what new things they discovered or received (“I am making everything new” Revelation 21:5). It’s the feasting and the newness of what might be next (“The Lord of hosts will prepare a lavish feast for all peoples on this mountain” Isaiah 25:6). It’s the warmth of togetherness (“We will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord” 1 Thessalonians 4:17). And it’s the gifts (“…into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil, or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you” 1 Peter 1:4).

I will forever look differently at the collective cultural  excitement over Christmas morning.  This year may the Lord help me tap into the wonder of the newness and adventure that is ours in Christ every day.

“Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives, and he gave gifts to men.” – Ephesians 4:8

Obviously Oblivious

Posted: June 25, 2015 in Uncategorized

galaxy“When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him…” (Psalm 8:3-4)

Looking to the heavens has been an occupation of man since our earliest days, but in these latter times, we have the capability to look further into the heavens than ever before. One of the reasons scientists have been doing this is the search for life elsewhere in the universe. Technologically, we have employed many different means and strategies for detecting life outside of earth. What is fascinating to me is that now that we have had time to receive data from many of these different studies, we are finding again and again a surprising silence. I say surprising, because many scientists logically assume that if life sprang up on earth, certainly there would be some sort of life elsewhere in a vast universe with many galaxies much older than ours.

One particular study that has recently been published is from Penn State University, where they searched 100,000 galaxies for infrared wavelengths produced from some sort of civilization. Over 100 million data entries were gone over and discovered to show nothing whatsoever. The astrophysicist behind the research noted a bit of surprise at the results given the fact that the galaxies searched were billions of years old “which should have been plenty of time for them to have been filled with alien civilizations, if they exist” (http://science.psu.edu/news-and-events/2015-news/Wright4-2015).

Other findings from probes dispatched, telescopes, and recording devices have now, in some cases, had decades of research that are all coming back with zero findings of any life anywhere else in the entire universe. Strange.

What does this mean?

“What is man that you are mindful of him?”

The beauty of nebulae, stars, quasars and galaxies that we have seen from our search into the heavens are marvelous and uncover tremendous activity out in the far reaches of space. But there is no life, creativity, civilization or work that we know of anywhere else in the universe.

“What is man that you are mindful of him?”

If you used a jackhammer on the moon, it would not make a sound. Why? Because there is no atmosphere with air waves to carry the sound to our ears. How marvelous to consider how many things have to fit together with such brilliance to make even our senses come alive here as in nowhere else.

“What is man that you are mindful of him?”

Why are we different than any other place in the universe? The Bible teaches that it is because we were made in the image and glory of God, who created all of what we can see and experience. And if He is able to make galaxies, mountains, and any paradise that we can conceive, why on earth should He care about what is going on here on earth? Why not just play in paradise instead of concerning Himself with what is happening in our jobs, our schools or our families?

But He DOES care!!

God took on flesh and became THE human – the perfect reflection of God’s glory in all his fullness. And when he was put to death for our sins, he rose to an eternal life that paves the way for all of us. As he was standing alive and well, he showed one of his disciples his nail-scarred hands, demonstrating to all of us that he didn’t just temporarily become human, but now forever is one of us. In Christ, God has so intertwined himself with his creation that we can never be separated. The eternal God was forever changed, as the Son will now eternally be man, reminding us of the love of our Father, who crossed time and space to fetch his precious humans from the clutches of our sins, so we can be united again where we rightfully belong.

“What is man that you are mindful of him?”

Your treasure and love. The apex of your creation. Thank you, Lord for the gift of the life I am living today. Help me not be oblivious to its preciousness and to see those around me as such treasures of their Heavenly Father as well.

Jesus Is Not Your Therapist

Posted: June 25, 2015 in Uncategorized

When we put our faith in God and believe that Jesus came to rescue us through his death and resurrection, we rightfully understand that there is no better place we can go for truth than God. But if we only take certain truths from him, we fail to approach him as Lord and do so more as a therapist. For instance, we seek information about how to heal ourselves and our relationships from a therapist, but we would never receive investment strategies from them or let them tell us what kind of work we should be doing for them. Unfortunately, we too often do the same with Jesus. We allow him to speak to us about how to help our relationships and issues that we face, and then we rarely move beyond that. But it’s the “beyond that” which was the most important to Jesus.

Consider what he said as the “THEREFORE” to the fact that he has been given all the authority in the universe. He didn’t say, therefore I can tell you all you need to know to have a productive work schedule, or therefore I can give you the seven keys to relate to your children now. No, he said:

“All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. THEREFORE go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

As Lord, Jesus was rearranging the entire lives of people to be about what he was about now. When we make him Lord, we suddenly inherit the family business, and that which is most dear to him. In fact, Ephesians says that we were saved unto good works that we should walk in them. If you are trying to grow as a Christian by hearing a bunch of words of Jesus but not obeying his call to make disciples, you are like a hamster in a wheel. You are approaching God as your therapist, and not as your Lord. You are missing out on the reason for your salvation.

So I ask:

Who are you discipling in your life right now?

What are you waiting for?

purgeguypicThere are two important dates occurring this week that poignantly stand together as a great reminder of how far we have come as a nation and as a culture. The first is the anniversary of the landmark court decision of Roe vs. Wade, in which now – 32 years later – we have effectively managed to bring abortion-on-demand to the nation as the tune of approximately 1.2 million abortions a year would indicate. This comes just days after a second important date, which is Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day (and the upcoming Black History month) reminds us that we have truly come a long way in terms of our culture, and I am not talking now about the fact that we have a sitting African American President. What I’m really talking about is that where we used to openly oppress minorities and violently stand against them to eliminate them from our nation, now we do it much more subtly and behind the scenes. Yes, we have come a long way.

There is an uncomfortable fact undergirding the numbers that are released every year regarding the abortions performed in this country. Over a third of them are African Americans. That is staggering considering that only about 13% of the female population of this country are African American. That means that the 36 million African Americans currently in this country would number 52 million if it weren’t for the abortions we have helped them to receive. The impact of such a loss on a single people group in our nation is beyond significant.

One very real tragedy that the black community faces and which has been rightly pointed out in recent social discussions is a disproportionately high rate of death from violent crime and homicides. However, one glance at the U.S. Center of Disease Control figures for the cause of deaths since 1973 reveals another disturbing cause with almost unimaginable consequences that overshadows all others, including homicides:


My opinion is that the shocking difference between the infant terminations of minorities and others is not simply because they want more abortions per capita. I think we deliberately target minorities through the institution and practices of abortion in this country. By far, most abortion clinics are found in urban poor areas throughout the nation. Suburban women generally have to drive out of their communities in order to find such services. If this truly is about the ‘rights of women’ then why aren’t there more suburban Planned Parenthood Centers? I know that suburban white people (kids and adults) are having sex in droves. Where are their ‘rights’? 78% of all Planned Parenthood centers are in minority communities. That’s profound. And it reeks of population control. The founder of Planned Parenthood was a known racist who wrote positively about the nazi eugenics practices and spoke about sterilizing those who are “unfit” and purifying America’s “breeding stock.” Shouldn’t this at least be part of the civil rights discussions?

I am not suggesting that those who perform abortions are all racists, or that those who argue for the rights of women hate minorities. But it doesn’t change what is resulting from the system itself.

One horror movie that I have in my collection is The Purge. After all, this is a blog that has zombies in the name, so I have to talk horror movies once in a while. The movie is about a not-too-distant future in America where all crime has effectively stopped, bringing about a utopian-esque nation where families are free to focus on living their lives to the fullest without all the worry and fuss of a bad economy or a population riddled with criminal behavior. The secret of this state of affairs is a 12-hour period each year where any and all crime becomes permissible as police put their jobs on hold and hospitals close their doors. It’s called the Purge because it allows people to “purge” their anger and hostility for a night, so that they are placated the rest of the year. The director hinted in the film, however, that perhaps the purge was really a purge of those who couldn’t afford the high-end security systems and privileges that were enjoyed by the rest of the nation.

This is interesting because we are standing in a similarly gray area of morality. In the film, the citizens could argue very convincing cases why they needed to “purge” their anger and frustration for the year, pointing to all the benefits that were clearly visible on the economy, the security, and life quality of the nation. All the while, however, the government was really eliminating a huge segment of their population on a yearly basis through sanctioned acts. We can do the very same thing with abortion, even calling on such things as human rights and freedom to justify the elimination of staggering numbers of would-be black brothers and sisters. We could argue that the abortion rates are a ‘natural’ outcome resulting from poorer minorities not having access to birth control, education, etc. But isn’t that the point exactly? Like Purge, we have set up a system that is eliminating a segment of people that someone has defined as unfavorable for whatever reasons. And it is a lot easier to sterilize a population when we disguise it under nice words and values that skirt around the issue altogether.

This week as we remember the importance of the civil rights for every individual and honor those who have set aside their own personal comforts so that those who many found offensive or less than human could be whoever they wanted to be, I think of the black workers, leaders, students, friends and parents that are missing from our collective culture. Forgive me if I find the protests on police departments a little trendy. I don’t know anyone who is “for” police brutality of any kind on any race. I know plenty of people who are for the right to abort babies, however. I don’t believe those people are all racist, but they are supporting an institution that is racist at its core. Will that change your mind? Probably not. What does that say about our culture?

Things are not as simple as they seem. We like to make black and white arguments and think debates are plain: Women’s rights vs. Conservative hate mongers or Liberal fascists vs. right to life advocates. The reality is that there are real effects outside the usual debates taking place that will alter the face of the planet, not to mention our nation, and the lives of its people. We are losing a race of people and we don’t even care. We are still justifying it on a number of fronts. Why can’t we sacrifice some of our rights for tomorrow’s generation? Why do we have such a hard time saying no to something today for the sake of something tomorrow? We are weak, timid and in need of salvation. Please don’t think you can save the world by trying to be a nice person. Your niceness is killing millions of people every year. You are powerless to stop it. We need a Savior.

Paul says as much in Romans when he declares in Romans 7, “I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

Jesus said he wants all people groups as his disciples (Matthew 28:19). He values the least in our society if he wants to build his kingdom with such people. We can’t even set aside our own personal comforts for the sake of a people being wiped out under our noses. He was able to set aside all personal glory and comfort, to lay his life down for the things we’ve done in order to get his people back. Prompted by that love shown to us, what would we set aside so we can have our black friends back?

A Weak-Necked God

Posted: December 17, 2014 in Uncategorized

babyinhandsOur latest Milligan debuted exactly four weeks ago today, so this last month I have been filled with wonder at the intricate miracles of life. Well it may actually be lack of sleep, not wonder, that has me staring wide-eyed and mystified at those tiny eyeballs looking back at me while the rest of the world is sleeping. But for the purposes of this post, let’s call it wonder.

It’s fun to have a baby during the Christmas season. It makes me think anew about what it means to have a Savior that came to earth as such a creature. When looking at my newborn I am struck at how fragile she is. She can’t even hold up her own head. If she were held carelessly by any of the many eager hands in our house that would be willing, she might not live to tell about it. How strange that God became so dependent! God became flesh and had to rely on the creatures that he made to ensure they would hold up his head properly. My baby is so helpless that she can do absolutely nothing to meet her own needs for hunger or cleanliness. How frightening to think that the future of humanity’s rescue and redemption was similarly dependent on the restrained sinfulness of a couple of human beings.

God must know something that we don’t.

“As you do not know the way the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child, so you do not know the work of God who makes everything.” (Ecclesiastes 11:5)

I think God coming as a baby shows that He is much more active than we often give him credit for. In other words, God is working in the day-to-day care of the people he has made. In the verse above, work implies activity and labor, and it says that God is presently doing this in his makING (present tense) of everything. And it says that we can’t know all the ways he is doing so.

A friend from church recently pointed out to me how weird it was to think that God the Father had to wait for Jesus the Son to grow up before he could do all he had been sent to earth to do. The Father sent him with a mission to accomplish, but he had to wait for the baby to grow. He had to wait for the child to learn how to talk and how to read. He had to wait for him to get a job, make friends, go through puberty. God is able to relate to the mundane life of a parent, who has to change dirty diapers, feed hungry kids, and work to ensure a roof over your family.

Those things are not placeholders until we can get to the “good part” of parenting where kids are healthy, mature and ready for life. Rather, those things are actively makING them into the men and women that God is calling them to be.

God was not twiddling his thumbs while Jesus learned to read and tie his sandals. He was using every opportunity of growing and learning to disciple his Son into a man who would willingly lay down his life for a bunch of rampant sinners (John 10:18). If his life was perfect, then he chose the perfect path to be discipled into someone who maximizes God’s glory on a daily basis. It might be surprising then that he didn’t become a priest or a scribe or some religious figurehead. Rather, he became a craftsman or working class carpenter (Mark 6:3). Apparently working a day job, relating to clients, and designing furniture from wood are all things that God uses to reveal himself and his truth to his Son in profound ways. Jesus was never without the loving hand of his Father through his day-to-day life, and neither are we. Our daily lives are not placeholders, but have value as the very things God is using to bring about the realty of our true identities.

God must not be a deadbeat dad, but a loving Father who uses even the difficult processes of trials in our lives to move us and shape us into the perfect image of who we are in Him (1 Cor. 13:12). And that image is of someone that lived every second of their life completely perfectly: Jesus Christ. Through his death and resurrection, he got the consequences of our sins, namely death, and we get the consequences of his perfect life, namely a relationship with a Father who loves us through every second of our lives. But to the degree we are unaware of His promised presence through the death and resurrection of Christ is the degree that we can be joyless, hopeless, and dead as we go through the had stuff or even the everyday stuff (and vice versa).

Moms and dads are not alone in their parenting, employees are not alone in their working, and carpenters are not alone in their carpentering. Part of the beauty of Jesus is that we have a God who takes on flesh and exists in our day-to-day world of learning, growing and (in our case) even failing. He is right with us showing us more of himself. And the more we are aware of him as a God who became dependent so we could be free from our sins, the more we can worship wherever we walk.

“And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.” (Luke 2:52)

Heavenly Hosts

Posted: December 9, 2014 in Uncategorized

footwashingpictureIf you were invited to a person’s house for the first time, and you saw that their kids were hungry, would you go into the kitchen and start whipping up a delicious lunch for them with whatever you happened to find in their cupboards? Doubtful. It may be a legitimate need, but it would be appropriate to let the host take the lead in meeting the hunger needs under his own roof. As a stranger or guest, it would be bad manners in such a scenario.

I have been thinking lately about this tendency we have to submit to others’ leading when it comes to meeting needs or taking action in many circumstances other than that described above. In other words, I believe we often assume a posture of stranger or guest where we simply feel as if it would be inappropriate for us to take action. We wait for someone else to do what may be acts of love or mercy that we might even asses as needful, regardless of where we are in our lives. How many times at work have we thought about stepping in to assist someone, or to stop some slanderous talk, or any other need-meeting act of grace that we explain away because we feel it is not our place to do so?

There are vast numbers of social experiments that have highlighted this part of human nature, such as Milgram’s infamous test where ordinary folks were willing to cross their consciences to shock a person to potential harm or even death because they felt like a guest to the “host” of the experiment. Regardless of the locale, we find ourselves in many situations or roles in our lives where we simply feel like others are in a more appropriate place to act toward the many legitimate needs around us every day and we therefore do not act. We feel like guests or just party-goers to some unnamed “host.” Who is the “host” of our community? Who is the “host” of our workplaces, our schools, etc.? I believe we can’t help but find ourselves in this position, and therefore are kept from doing some things that could make a real difference to the world around us until we are freed to do so.

This is why I find it very fascinating some of the language the Bible uses when describing what changes when we start to give our allegiance to Christ. Ephesians 2 says:

“Remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ…So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God…” (vv. 11-19)

We were strangers, but now we are not. We were outsiders, but now we are not. In fact, it says we are now members of the house. Not just any household, but God’s household. And since v. 22 makes clear that this house is not a location but wherever his kingdom reigns in the hearts of his people, then it’s obvious that wherever we go we assume a position of “host” to a world still feeling like strangers to the God who made them. We can step out in love to meet needs that no one else can, because he gives us authority to represent him and do so.

This obviously doesn’t mean to go rooting through someone’s cupboards to feed the hungry in our community or in their own houses. What I think it means instead is what the New Testament says in several other places as a major way to demonstrate our faith in the one who died so strangers could be made into citizens:

“Seek to show hospitality.” (Romans 12:13)

Hospitality. That is what it means when a host busies themselves to arrange room for the guests and strangers. That’s what it means, particularly in the Ancient Near East, when a host sets aside a part of their house so a stranger traveling through town no longer has need of lodging. It means having that “host-like” freedom to use your resources to meet others’ needs.

Putting together the positional change described in Ephesians 2 and the calls such as “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers” (Heb. 13:2), means we don’t have to be afraid to do the right thing in any circumstance for fear that others might be in a better position. Even if we might look silly, when we are feeling the prompting of the Holy Spirit, it is our chance to use something we have been given by him to meet the need of another, whether by our words, our gifts, our material blessings, or our very presence. This can happen when we remember Christ, the host of the world who not only got up from the table to wash the feet of his guests, but who also allowed himself to be nailed to a cross by the ones he created so that we strangers would no longer be alienated from the Father who loves us. This Christmas season, I’m thinking a little differently about what it meant for a Heavenly “Host” to come down and meet my need for forgiveness and love. Thank you, Jesus. Help me show hospitality now as a fellow citizen of heaven.

You Are Such a Turkey

Posted: December 2, 2014 in Uncategorized

‘Tis the season for feasts!! Thanksgiving just ended and soon we will be gathering around other food-filled family festival tables as we celebrate the remainder of a whole season that we just simply name “Holidays” since it’s chocked full of them. The table feast is one of the most salient images in the Bible, and something that pretty much everyone could relate to, so it was no wonder that Jesus taught many things from the standpoint of this universal gathering.

On one occasion, Jesus saw the people at a dinner party clambering toward the seats of honor. He took the opportunity to teach them an important lesson, saying:

turkeyfeastpic“When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you be invited by him, and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this person,’ and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. 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.” (Luke 14:8-11)

The place of honor that Jesus referred to would have been typically the seat to the immediate right or left of the host. “Moving up” would be to be asked by the host to come to a seat closer to where he was sitting. In other words, Jesus was saying, “Don’t fight for the good seat, but go for the one farthest away, thus attributing more honor to others than to yourself.” This isn’t just practical wisdom for how to avoid looking like a fool at a party, but is specific teaching on the nature of the kingdom of God…and that makes me very uncomfortable because of what it means for us.

Elsewhere, Jesus uses the table as an analogy for life with him. We are brought to the table of fellowship with God himself as the head of the household, and we as his children through the blood of Christ. Once at the table, however, we are very good at clambering toward the seats of honor next to Jesus. We constantly set ourselves above other Christians, other people. We set our church above another’s, our doctrine is better than yours, our culture, our behavior, etc. We tend to use Jesus and our place as being “closer” to him as a division with others. The devotionals on our phones, the bumper stickers on our car, or the church activities we participate in can become external things that we can use to point to our friendship with Jesus and separation from those without the same externals. “We are the true friends of Jesus, do you even know him?!”

Moving closer to Jesus at the table might not sound bad. And it isn’t. The problem is, he isn’t sitting at the head of the table, like we think. Yes, he is the Master of the feast. He is the one who invited us. But he isn’t sitting in the Master’s chair, though that’s where we are all trying to get closer to. No, he told us where he is at the table:

“Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.” (Matthew 26:26)

And in another place:

“I am the bread of life…If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh.” (John 6:48, 51)

To use a Thanksgiving metaphor: he is not the head of the table, he is the turkey. Yes, he is the bird carcass that everyone is eating. The one who gave his life so that all those clambering toward places of honor would have life and love at the table of their true Father. So if we truly want to be in the place closest to Jesus, where must we go?

Not up, but down. Not clambering, but descending. If Jesus is the turkey, what are the places to his right and left? I think this is what he meant when he said, “Go and sit in the lowest place.” If our Lord, who is the Master of feast, is seated as the food sacrificed so others can have honored places at his table, as we begin to look more like him our place should look more like his as well.

Questions we can ask ourselves to asses our place in relation to the turkey might sound something like: Are you sustaining anyone else’s relationship with Jesus? Are you being used in some way for others to advance? Are you sacrificing any of your time or resources for the kingdom, that others should be in places of honor with Jesus? How concerned are you in getting what you “deserve,” whether credit, rewards, honor, justice?

This is why when the mother of two of Jesus’ disciples asked Jesus if they could have the seats to the right and left of their Master in heaven,

“Jesus answered, “You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I am to drink?”

Jesus knew that to be in the place of honor in his kingdom is to be the turkey.

“You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:22-28)

I pray that we might cast our hearts on the one who came not to be served though he deserved it, but who gave his life that we might live. When we see him for the beautiful feast he is, may we be pushed to the outer edges of the table and be willing to let others step on us to be in places of honor around his family table as well. It might be difficult now. It might be uncomfortable at times. But it will not last forever. Because the host is coming back…

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.”