When I was a freshman at Virginia Tech, I met another student that would become a lifelong friend. Not only did Marlon and I share the same birthday, we also shared the same Savior and a love for agriculture and the outdoors.
A few years later, Marlon moved to Louisiana and established his own landscaping business. He married a beautiful southern lady, and they started their family. Shortly after their son was born, Marlon’s wife developed cancer and began a courageous fight from which she later graduated to heaven.
In an attempt to assist Marlon during a difficult time, I flew south for a week to help out. Other than the oppressive August heat, it was a great chance to reconnect and spend time getting in his way.
A special unplanned blessing happened on my journey. When I arrived at Dulles Airport that morning, I found my cousin working behind the airline counter. Although we had been close growing up, we hadn’t seen each other in years so it was great catching up. He checked my bag, processed my ticket and blessed me on my way.
Boy did he bless me! I didn’t look at my boarding pass until I was sitting at my gate and discovered that he had bumped me up to first class! It’s still the only time I got to enjoy that privilege and it didn’t cost me a dime!
That incident reminded me of one of Jesus’ teachings. In Luke 14, Jesus advises His followers not to take the best seats at a banquet to spare the embarrassment of getting booted by someone more important. His advice was to sit in the cheap seats and let the host upgrade you.
The world’s way is to clamor for the best seats, the best jobs, the best pay, the best houses, the best cars, etc. Jesus however, said, “Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Sometimes the exaltation might not happen immediately, but in time, and perhaps in eternity, we realize the wisdom of obeying Jesus. Our Heavenly Father sees our hearts and offers free upgrades regularly for those willing to forego temporary honors.
Just like the airport, it helps to know the One not only in charge of seating, but of everything, and we have the privilege of being this Individual’s son or daughter. Imagine the benefits that connection provides!
In his book, A Love Worth Giving, Max Lucado observed, God’s upgrade moves us from sinner to saint, from hell-bent to heaven-bound, from confused to clarified, and from guilty to justified. God could have bumped us out, but instead He bumped us up! That’s one upgrade we’d be foolish not to accept!
If you’ve never established a relationship with Jesus, it’s not too late. Invite Him into your heart and life. And if you have, obey His teachings of humility that He might upgrade you as only He can.
George Bowers – CBC Executive Board member