Day 19

Teachings on Humility

from the Luke reading plan

Luke 14:1-35, Proverbs 25:6-7, Romans 12:16

BY Guest Writer

I am uncomfortable writing about pride and humility, precisely because I have too much of one and not nearly enough of the other. I dare say I’m not alone, either. I did a little bit of cultural research when I started writing this, because I wanted to see how other people talk about humility.

First, I found a series of business articles in prominent journals about how humility is the secret to good leadership—including an article literally titled, “17 Reasons Humility Will Help You Get Ahead.” Later, I found an article about the power dynamics of choosing your seat in a business meeting, and research about the psychology behind your choice.

What Jesus says in Luke 14:7–14 is exactly the opposite: “But when you are invited, go and recline in the lowest place” (v.10). When He tells this parable, Jesus isn’t teaching a large crowd. He is eating a Sabbath meal in the house of Pharisees, the group that would be largely responsible for later placing Him on trial.

In this chapter, Jesus confronts the Pharisees three times. First, He heals a man on the Sabbath, an issue over which the Pharisees had previously confronted Him. Second, having observed the Pharisees carefully choosing their seats at the Sabbath meal, He tells a parable about being humble and always choosing the worst seat. Third, He tells another parable about a wedding feast where none of the invited guests come, so the host extends the invitation to the poor, the maimed, the lame, and the blind.

Throughout Luke, we see Jesus inaugurating the kingdom of God and proclaiming its values. He challenges the Pharisees, and He challenges our hearts. The parables He tells are for His immediate audience, but they are also for us, showing us the way life should work in His kingdom. And in the kingdom of God, humility isn’t a tactic to get ahead. It’s not a carefully-calculated decision about where to sit in a meeting, or at a party.

In his book, The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness, Tim Keller writes:

Gospel-humility is not needing to think about myself. Not needing to connect things with myself. It is an end to thoughts such as, ‘I’m in this room with these people, does that make me look good? Do I want to be here?’ True gospel-humility means I stop connecting every experience, every conversation, with myself. In fact, I stop thinking about myself. The freedom of self-forgetfulness. The blessed rest that only self-forgetfulness brings.

I’ll pray through those words today, asking for self-forgetfulness and gospel-humility, asking for the Spirit to convict me when I put people and things before Jesus, and praying, inspired by the words of Paul in Romans, “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud; instead, associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own estimation” (v.16).

Melanie Rainer is a bookworm from birth who makes her days writing, editing and reading in Nashville, where she also joyfully serves as the editor of Kids Read Truth. She has an M.A. in Theological Studies from Covenant Seminary, spends as much time as she can in the kitchen, and can’t wait until her two daughters are old enough to read Anne of Green Gables.

Post Comments (47)

47 thoughts on "Teachings on Humility"

  1. Ashley White says:


  2. Brittney Boucher says:

    Self-forgetfulness is something I struggle with like most and something I have not prayed for recently. This scripture and reading has spoken to me during a time I need it most. I will definitely be coming back to this one from time to time!

  3. Carol Ross says:


  4. Becky says:

    Caitlin, I’m so glad you found this place of truth. God bless you and may it be used for good in your life.

  5. Beth Hinson says:

    It is very easy to ignore prideful feelings until the Bible convicts you in a passage such as this! I am constantly thinking of myself in relation to others, places, and things instead of thinking about how Jesus is related to my situation and praying for his works to be shown. I have so much pride, but I am thankful that God is patient with me as we walk on this journey towards humility!

  6. Stephanie M says:

    Not thinking less of myself, but thinking of myself less – CS Lewis

    1. Dot Hardin says:


  7. Lyna Ninkham says:

    So much to be learned in Luke 14 that I don’t even know where to begin on what God is teaching me today regarding gospel-humility and self-forgetfulness. Praying the same prayer as I ask God to convict my heart if and when I put others above Jesus and myself above others.

  8. Caitlin says:

    I just want to say i was raised in church and I got out of it. I went through some things like panic attacks anxiety attacks etc. My anxiety attack was actually caused by something biblical I read so I got this site from a family member and I just started reading on Monday or Tuesday and so far almost every message has been about something that has been running through my mind and questions popping into my mind over this past week
    This has been a hard week for me but I am amazed at the power of God and what he can do through simple things like this.

    1. Ashley Bowman says:

      I’m so glad to hear it’s going well for you! Praying for you to understand how deeply you are loved by God and that you would be filled by the peace of God that comes when you seek His face. ❤️

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