sexta-feira, 14 de julho de 2017


If you put yourself above others,
you will be put down.
But if you humble yourself,
you will be honored.
Luke 14:11 (read 14:7-14) - NIV

Being promoted by others is better than self-promotion. The dream of many is to be famous and wealthy, no matter the price. It is pleasant to be looked up to. Our consumer culture plays on our desire to be in style. Advertising promotes the idea that it is chic to wear certain brands of clothing by printing brand names in places that are very visible. Even graffiti is used by some as a way of gaining recognition. Many graffiti “artists” have their own signatures to identify their work. Their claim to fame is by leaving their mark in the most difficult places of access. They may even risk their lives to gain that moment of fame by drawing in very dangerous places. They have been known to fall to their death from high places. Also the Big Brother Brazil TV program capitalizes on this desire and recruits mostly young people who are willing to undergo a period of futility in order to win his or her moment of fame and "good money". The futility of status is present in all strata of society.

Religious and philanthropic institutions are altruistic by nature, with the purpose of service to humanity. They are founded with the purpose of promoting high ethical values and social good. Often human nature frustrates this ideal. One of the ironies is that these same institutions become fertile fields for self-promotion. Neurotic people have the opportunity to establish and enforce a pathological structure of power and manipulation. Many churches (especially evangelical) have their 'owners' and their "stars". They do everything to maintain their positions of authority and ascendancy over others. Hierarchical positions create conflicts and rivalries, not by the desire to serve but by the desire to command. Many times during my career I, as a pastor, have had to manage these power struggles in local churches and observe many power plays in regional councils. Power nourishes pride and leads to the evil of domination even in supposedly altruistic organizations.

Jesus watched this game being played out at the time of the arrival of guests at a banquet. Each sought to occupy the seats of honor. Jesus drew attention to what was happening. He questioned their self-promotion, especially when done without targeting the general welfare. True advancement is given by others in recognition of merit, not by struggle to be recognized. The desire and effort to contribute to improve the world is quite different from the struggle to just "get ahead".

On the global scale, because of the inversion of the values of Jesus in today's world, the rich are getting richer and the poor are becoming increasingly miserable. There are enough resources in the world for everyone to live comfortably, but human nature is aimed at short-term advantages and on individualistic terms. Seeking privilege and doing only what pays off is inflicting a high price on all of humanity and leading to the ultimate self-destruction of the human race! When our Earth ship sinks there will be no lifeboats!


Jesus saw how the guests had tried to take the best seats. So he told them:

When you are invited to a wedding feast, don’t sit in the best place. Someone more important may have been invited. Then the one who invited you will come and say, “Give your place to this other guest!” You will be embarrassed and will have to sit in the worst place.

When you are invited to be a guest, go and sit in the worst place. Then the one who invited you may come and say, “My friend, take a better seat!” You will then be honored in front of all the other guests. If you put yourself above others, you will be put down. But if you humble yourself, you will be honored.

Then Jesus said to the man who had invited him:

When you give a dinner or a banquet, don’t invite your friends and family and relatives and rich neighbors. If you do, they will invite you in return, and you will be paid back. When you give a feast, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, and the blind. They cannot pay you back. But God will bless you and reward you when his people rise from death.

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