In contrast, the Bible is refreshingly down-to-earth it is. Take for example this morning's reading from Luke:
8"When someone invites you to a wedding feast, do not take the place of honor, for a person more distinguished than you may have been invited. 9If so, the host who invited both of you will come and say to you, 'Give this man your seat.' Then, humiliated, you will have to take the least important place. 10But when you are invited, take the lowest place, so that when your host comes, he will say to you, 'Friend, move up to a better place.' Then you will be honored in the presence of all your fellow guests. 11For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."Now some religions or philosophies of life might tell you to abandon the desire to be "honored in the presence of all your fellow guests." Come to think of it, I might tell you that, too. But not Jesus. He recognizes that enjoying such things is part of how we were made. And really, it's a good thing to be enjoyed, like a good meal.Luke 14:8-11
What Jesus teaches us, both by his words and by his example, is the path to getting that good thing, that the way to be "honored in the presence of all your fellow guests" is not to seek it directly, but to humble yourself.
Taking Jesus's remark literally, it appears to be a cagey way to look good. But there's more to it than that.
Because when Jesus came to earth, he lived this out. He took a place of dishonor -- there was no greater dishonor than death by crucifixion -- and, as Paul will tell us later, Jesus was exalted to the highest place.
What a great thing -- to know that our Lord took the place of greatest dishonor for us, and to know that He has a realistic view of us. So you and I can be completely open with him; we needn't and shouldn't pretend to be other than we are, because it is OK with him that we are who we are. And that's good news.