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."
Then he turned to the host. "The next time you put on a dinner, don't just invite your friends and family and rich neighbors, the kind of people who will return the favor.
Invite some people who never get invited out, the misfits from the wrong side of the tracks.
You'll be - and experience - a blessing. They won't be able to return the favor, but the favor will be returned - oh, how it will be returned! - at the resurrection of God's people."
That triggered a response from one of the guests: "How fortunate the one who gets to eat dinner in God's kingdom!"
Jesus followed up. "Yes. For there was once a man who threw a great dinner party and invited many.
When it was time for dinner, he sent out his servant to the invited guests, saying, 'Come on in; the food's on the table.'
"Then they all began to beg off, one after another making excuses. The first said, 'I bought a piece of property and need to look it over. Send my regrets.'
"Another said, 'I just bought five teams of oxen, and I really need to check them out. Send my regrets.'
Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved. (The Message Bible Online)