Humility: Don't Assume That's Your Seat
Whenever I'm called into a meeting with peers from my workplace, I always try to sit as far away from the head of the table as possible. Especially in a setting where I'm unsure of my place in the hierarchy. The lowest and farthest seat is my first choice. I still actively participate in meetings and engage in the conversation, but never assume that I deserve a better seat than those around me. I love the parable Jesus tells of the "Ambitious Guest":
"...But when you are invited, go and sit down in the lowest place, so that when he who invited you comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, go up higher.’ Then you will have glory in the presence of those who sit at the table with you. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”
Humility is one of those fleeting character traits that we must all strive to gain, even when it doesn't come naturally. It's human nature to desire honor, respect and value in the eyes of our peers, but attempting to force or fake these traits have the opposite affect. Trying to appear more important than you are makes you look like a phony at best, or dishonest at worst. And demanding honor only creates a facade of respect from your coworkers.
But, when you assume you are the "least of these", and treat those around you with a greater honor than yourself, the door opens to truly be valued and respected. It's not a game or manipulation, it's Christ-like humility. Staying humble becomes even more difficult when you begin to receive accolades and encouragement from those around you. But resist the temptation to mount that pedestal. Look again for that uncomfortable seat in the back of the room, and choose it over all the others.