Humility and Hospitality (Rabel)

(Back) Repent or Perish The Parable of the Great Dinner (Next)

METAPHYSICAL BIBLE INTERPRETATION OF THE NEW TESTAMENT
This is a series of lectures given by Mr. Edward Rabel, member of the faculty of S.M.R.S.
Winter semester 1976 - 2nd. Yr. Class. Part of Lecture 33 given on April 1, 1976 and part of Lecture 34 given on April 2, 1976

Luke 14:7-14, pp. 202-210 of transcript.

14:7And he spake a parable unto those that were bidden, when he marked how they chose out the chief seats; saying unto them, 14:8When thou art bidden of any man to a marriage feast, sit not down in the chief seat; lest haply a more honorable man than thou be bidden of him, 14:9and he that bade thee and him shall come and say to thee, Give this man place; and then thou shalt begin with shame to take the lowest place. 14:10But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest place; that when he that hath bidden thee cometh, he may say to thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have glory in the presence of all that sit at meat with thee.14:11For everyone that exalteth himself shall be humbled; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

14:12And he said to him also that had bidden him, When thou makest a dinner or a supper, call not thy friends, nor thy brethren, nor thy kinsmen, nor rich neighbors; lest haply they also bid thee again, and a recompense be made thee. 14:13But when thou makest a feast, bid the poor, the maimed, the lame, the blind: 14:14and thou shalt be blessed; because they have not wherewith to recompense thee: for thou shalt be recompensed in the resurrection of the just.

In His own life, Jesus made the occasions of a feast or banquet, the setting for His most important demonstrations and discourses. In fact, His final discourse to His disciples was given at the feast, now called the Lord's supper, and where we come to an incident involving the use of feasts and suppers. This one is on Page 132 of HG, Luke 14:7. Here we have a marriage feast as a setting for this important teaching, and the point Jesus is making (as usual, He is making more than one point) but the important one is in regard to what we may call "your place at the feast". This would be two-fold. It would be your self-appointed place and your rightful place, chosen by the Lord.

Now, let's consider, first, this metaphysical significance of Jesus' constant involvement in banquets, etc. This has meaning on two levels. Of course, the lesser meaning is on the literal or physical level, that eating and drinking are basic requirements for physical existence. The setting of a social gathering for the purpose of eating and drinking is a very desirable and enjoyable pattern in most people's lives. Without such physical nourishment, man's physical organism would perish, and for many persons, without social intermingling and contact and exchange, their souls would, in a sense, perish or at least shrivel somewhat. So, much of our physical well-being depends upon what, when, how, and who we eat and drink with.

But Jesus was very much aware of other levels of man besides the physical. He knew about a higher and finer and really more important level, but the problem was that there was really no vocabulary in existence then to enable Him to discuss these things directly. They did not have a system of Unity fundamentals terminology which so many first-year students fight and resist learning. Think what it would be like if you did not have it to learn! Of course it is always easy to lock the barn door after the horse is out, it is easier to convince you of the validity of this than it is first-year students who are involved in it.

Remember, now, that Jesus was not in a nationality, culture, or an era of world history that had this kind of equipment to express ideas. So He had to, of course, resort to parables. He had to use familiar objects and familiar words and settings and use them as symbols pointing to things on a different and more intangible level. Now, one of these is the fact that the thinking and feeling part of man needs nourishment from a food-source very different from that of the physical nature. Food from a physical source provides only a minute portion of nourishment needed by man to fulfill all his needs. Jesus once said, Himself, "Man does not live by bread alone but also by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." In other words, man needs food for thought, food for feelings, man needs in addition to physical matter as food, mental energy and, if possible, spiritual substance, because man is a whole being, spirit, soul, and body, two of which need nourishment at all times; notice: not nourishment for his spirit, but nourishment for his power of awareness of spirit, which is in his soul. So it is soul and body which need nourishment; and when we say "spiritual nourishment", we really mean nourishment for the soul's awareness of spirit, not nourishment for spirit.

Now Jesus, with His universal point of view, saw all of life as a potential feast or banquet for the whole man, not just the physical part of him, but for his entire being; and Jesus referred to life in general, in His teachings, many times as a banquet or a feast or a supper at which we can constantly absorb some type of nourishment for various parts of our total being. We partake of matter, which is Truth, for our physical organism. We partake of impressions and inspirations, which are food for thought and nourishment for our mental powers. We absorb other types of impressions, which are food for our feeling nature.

Very often this type of food is provided in artistic enjoyment, in esthetic impressions, in the beauties of nature; these will provide food for the feeling nature and for the emotions, while some of the harsher aspects of life would provide food for thought. "This made me sit up and think", we say. In other words, this harsher aspect of life provided some food for thought. Of course it all intermingles, interblends; it is not all cut and dried, and there are rare times, which should be becoming more numerous, when we can appropriate the very highest and finest nourishment of all, which is spiritual substance.

The act of doing this consciously is what we now refer to as holy communion. This is partaking of spiritual substance in the form of realizations, directly into the most important parts of the soul, which would be spiritual awareness. But, remember that at whatever level we are doing our partaking, the same fact holds true: life itself and whatever it contains, can be one constant feast at which some form of nourishment is provided for at least some part of the totality of our being. In other words, perhaps from a negative approach, nothing in life is ever really a waste. The only thing which is a waste is our neglect of an opportunity. That is all. Only our choice of what to do with life, what to do with it, how we react, may or may not constitute a waste. The only thing that can ever be wasted is an opportunity, that is all, not a happening; and it is up to man.

Now, if we can remember this, it will help to free us from the false beliefs that some parts of life are no-good, are meaningless, are a waste of time, because in reality, there is no meaninglessness in life. All things have their special meaning, and anything which has a meaning has validity. All things have the meaning and validity and no time is ever a waste, because if one part of you is not receiving benefit, then another part of you can, if you will let it. It is not forced on you, remember; but it is available to you. It is up to you. If your attitude toward God is right, but if in some ways it seems to you that not enough good things are happening to you, and this can happen, rest assured that inner good things are happening to you. You see, when nothing out here is going on, when you know your attitude is right and good, do not be misled.

Know that when your attitude toward God is right, which means you are believing and trusting, and outer good things are not happening, do not panic, do not complain. Try to realize where some inner good things are happening, and if you seek where they are happening, you will always discover, because all things which happen to you, nourish some part of you - conscious, subconscious, or unconscious. There is no loss, there is no waste, all is nourishment.

Just as, in the literal sense, a good banquet does not consist of just eating only but contains other factors which make it worthwhile and successful, the same is true of our feast of life. You see, it is more than just what happens or what kind of food is being served right now. There is more, just as at a social banquet. The attitude and the behavior of the guests is a very important factor; and you and I are guests at God's feast of eternal life, and our attitude and our behavior determine the success or failure of our participation. It is not so much what you eat, though that is important, but what your attitude is and what the behavior of the guests are also characterize the banquet. The same is true of the feast of eternal life. It is not just what happens to you, you see, but our attitude and our behavior involved in what is happening determine the success or failure of our participation in this feast.

Now, in our Gospel text for this lesson, Jesus gives us one of the most practical lessons to be found in how to make sure we do not turn God's feast of life for us into a fiasco of embarrassment and unhappiness. So many people say that somebody or something "doing this to me" causes them embarrassment or humiliation. If they are in too tight a pinch to find somebody or something, they say, "Why is God doing this to me?" It is not at all correct to say that. All God is doing is what God always has been doing and what God will always be doing: making available to us entirely free of charge, all of the divine ideas that are in His mind. That is all God ever does for anybody at anytime, anywhere, under any circumstances. Nothing more than that and nothing ever less than that. He simply makes available to us all the ideas, the divine ideas, that are in His mind; so when anything is happening to us, it is always what "I am doing or failing to do with what God has already done”, made available, all the divine ideas there, implanted within us as patterns and as freedom of choice.

One of the points Jesus offers people in this parable can be stated in a few words. If you are desirous of enjoying full benefit of nourishment, God's feast of eternal life for you, never try to demonstrate the false notion that you are more important to God than any other guests. Jesus bluntly shows that if a person, any person from Hitler down to Ed Rabel, tries deliberately to claim greater personal importance over fellow human beings, the law of life will rectify that error and possibly result in painful humiliation for the offender. Why? As punishment? No, rather for our own highest good. You see, folks, if arrogance, selfishness, and favoritism were allowed to prevail at God's feast, then what kind of host would God be? Of what use or purpose would eternal life with such a God be? Imagine eternal life with a willy-nilly God! It would be horrible, like going to an obnoxious host's dinner and having to stay there forever, regardless of what you felt or thought; so remember that our importance as God's guests in the feast of eternal life does not consist of our prestige or our status over others but rather it is our individual existence as human beings in oneness with all others. When we see ourselves as living, learning, growing persons, not more important than nor less important than others, then that attitude makes us have immediately full honor as guests at the feast of eternal life. It is not what you do or accomplish or how much you know or how many more advantages you have. Just realizing the truth about yourself makes you an honored guest, not more honored than, just an honored guest. You are a prophet with honors, not a prophet with more honor than.

Now, here is the tricky part. Your place at the feast becomes higher but not higher than that of others, simply higher for you, period, higher than the place you formerly had. In other words, think of it, if you will, as growth. Your growth consists of only you becoming more than you used to be. Does your growth have to do with becoming more than another's? No. Only more than what you used to be, either in girth, in bulk, or in dimension of consciousness. I'll take the third, if you please. You see, we have gotten in this habit of looking at other people's growth and then judging status, then looking at our status and judging growth, and we get the whole thing mixed up. Then we commit these faux pas at the banquet of life; we turn the whole thing into an embarrassment and a fiasco, mostly for the ego part of ourselves. All this can be avoided. All this form of useless, unnecessary suffering can be totally avoided if we take heed of some of these principles Jesus taught.

Jesus also said that it is possible you will be sent to a lower place than is your choice. He does not say a lower place than that which belongs to you but rather a lower place than that of your ego choice. Does that really mean you have been demoted? It only means you have been undeceived about some false concept concerning yourself, that is all. There is no demotion in the kingdom of God. There is only unmasking of self-delusion, of false egotism, that is all; and it may look to the ego like a demotion, but what would it look like to your true perception if you could see it in the light of Truth? It would simply consist of returning to your right place, that place which is best for you by right of consciousness, not by choice of ego-status seeking.

You know, as I talk, do you realize it sounds to me as if I'm looking into a mirror? It's fantastic. Remember, folks, that a higher place only means a more suitable place for you, that which you are ready for and is now yours by right of consciousness; but we must remember that one does not attain the higher place by seeking advantages over others. He does this by his own spiritual growth through prayer, through meditation, through study and practice of the truth we know. This is the only way. This is the only way to come up higher; there is no other way. Jesus said, "No man cometh nearer to the Father except by me." Jesus is the voice or spokesman of the way, the only way, the way of truth and consciousness-growth.

Jesus closes this little discourse with one of the very challenging statements in the Gospels, "For everyone that exalted himself shall be humbled, and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted." In other words, do not let vanity or selfishness dominate your consciousness and make your appointment for you, as far as your place in life is concerned. Do not make yourself a hapless victim of self-centered attention. This is a needless tragedy, because it brings about painful embarrassments, which are totally avoidable. Volumes have been written about this. One of the most entertaining novels I have ever read that deals with this sort of thing is called Vanity Fair, where the characters in the book become victims of their own self-centered attention and then have to dance a very embarrassing jig all through the book.

Suffice it to say that an understanding of the true or divine humility, which is power; and an understanding of this true or divine humility can immediately wipe out this dangerous state from our consciousness - set us free in the light of Truth. But it is important that we all realize that we are at our right place, at the feast of our eternal life in God; and the only thing that makes it "the right place" is just the fact that you are in it. There is no right place and then there's a you. You, in a place, constitute a right place. You are the rightness of any role in life or any place you are in life. The only wrong places there are in your life are the places that you are not, but your ego says you ought to be. That is the only wrong place; it is an imaginary place, an unreal concept of egotism. It does not exist in reality, but if it is really you and you are in that place, that makes it the right place.

Q. I'm glad that you are emphasizing this idea of the right place, because I see a number of people who come in new to Unity have a tendency to put themselves down and feel that they should put themselves down even lower. I think the idea of the right place and being an honored guest is important for these people.

A. Yes, except for one thing. All my life I have heard about people who are victims of an inferiority complex, and I have met them only in theory, in conversations, in textbooks and discussion groups; but I have not met them yet in person. The people I have met are playing a little game in which they are objecting to the fact that they are not as high as their ego says they ought to be. Actually these people have a superiority complex but are being seen as inferior persons; and inferiority complex becomes a badge of honor, which makes them important.

You know, we want to love and believe in everybody we deal with, and this is certainly what we are trying to help bring about, but we must face facts which exist, even though they are contrary to our ideas and principles. They must be recognized and coped with. During my counseling training, the counselee was built up as being a completely honest person who tells you his problems and reveals themselves to you honestly and respects you for being honest. It wasn't long after I got out in the field that I realized the counselees in general were playing games with me, hiding much more than they were telling or telling things only to accomplish certain manipulations that they wanted.

Some counselees do come and lay it on the line, and you can work with them and always get marvelous results, but I am speaking of the run-of-the-mill type. It did not take long for me to lose the stars in my eyes about counselees and counseling, and I began to realize that the real Unity ministry, the real effectiveness of this movement as a movement is in the teachings, the spoken-word teachings of metaphysical and spiritual principles of Truth. The counseling, the special services, the structure of a Unity incorporation, the social activities all have a completely different aspect to me than they were built up for me here as a student. Many of these "catch" phrases that are bandied about in counseling classes are euphemisms, and inferiority complex is one of the biggest euphemisms, I think. It is superiority complex that is the problem.

Q. I am having problems understanding what you are saying. Let us just take the person who thinks he has no abilities but really has quite a few abilities, such as a person who is even afraid to go out and interview for a job, although she could do the job.

A. That is not an inferiority complex. That is a false belief, a groundless fear. You don't have to raise her up in her estimation of herself. You have to help her understand the truth of herself, that is all. Attempts to help a person raise a person's opinion of himself is wrong. It is ego-baiting, you see, it is ego-serving. All we need to know is Truth, not boosts of ego or morale but Truth, which is true for everybody; and it is easy. You do not deal with psychoanalysis on that level. We do not have them go back in their past and relive painful experiences. You keep them in the present always, and in this presence they are in contact with all powers. It is simple.

Q. I believe that there is a basis for inferiority, because I have worked with too many children who could not achieve and learn because of neurological difficulties. This was the greatest thing we had to work against, where they were totally defeated; and we had to help them see that something was there. Once they saw this, they went on.

A. I would say that such children were in a state of shock, not victims of inferiority complexes, which are something a person must figure out and assign himself to that role. This is connivance, which I do not think they do. Children react, and they are what they are. When they are in a state of psychic shock, they must be lifted out" of it.

Q. Is it that the ego has that tendency of feeling that it is superior or equal to God?

A. I cannot make that analogy. Right now it sounds a bit too far-stretched to me, but my feeling is that the ego will go to any resort to maintain its self-appointed place of superiority; and it will even go through motions of believing exactly the opposite of what it really believes. This is what I know. All the people I have ever met who have boasted of having an inferiority complex really were suffering from resentment over the fact that other people were not placing them in that superior position that their own egos had placed them, and they suffered indescribably from it. They call that kind of suffering inferiority complex. All the while the ego is screaming. The only thing you can do is bring these people in contact with the ever-present truth, which is the same for all persons; and they respond.

Q. It bothers me that there is a weeping and mourning and gnashing of teeth on my part. Why does this happen?

A. If you really believed that, that inferiority was yours, then anyone who could prove it would simply be verifying what you have accepted. This should please you.

Q. I am interested in your term "psychic shock" in relation to this. Is this something that has instilled a great fear that has perhaps frozen the personality at a certain level? Is this a fear which is something more than a feeling within the person? Is the person just afraid to go on?

A. Yes. I think that is a good analogy. I think children are very susceptible to this. They are very susceptible to shock resulting from ill treatment. It puts their growth-processes into a retarded rate, and it shows, then, in their reactions and in their receptive faculties and their behavior patterns; and they have to be helped through; for instance, therapy, which does immeasurable good. But I am speaking of intelligent adults, not children.

Q. But it could also be on any level, though?

A. It could be.

Q. I think the point is not whether we label someone inferior or superior. We have to face the fact that there are some people in the world who do not live up to their capabilities. We can label them whatever we want; whether it is a fear or not, we should not label them but help them.

A. And the common denominator, again, is the truth of being for each person, which is his total, unqualified oneness with all the divine ideas in God Mind, in the mind of the Father. There are so many ways that point can be gotten across, not in this fundamental language, but in all the variations and ramifications that you will bring to bear in your sermons, in your consultations, in your class work. The goal for helping each person is that he realizes his oneness with divine ideas and that these divine ideas are living and totally responsible to belief in them. They provide their own channels for expression through a person when they are believed in. This is one of the miracles, that the person himself does not have to dig out the channels for himself, through which these divine ideas will express. They not only will express, but they will create the proper channels in and through a person, whether it be his speaking ability, his artistic ability, his compassionate ability, his patience, his organizational ability - all these abilities will be channels carved out through his soul by the divine idea itself that he gives his commitment to and belief in.

Lecture 34 given on April 2, 1976

Let your host decide where your right place should be, because the host is your indwelling Lord; and He knows what your worth is and what sort of honor you are ready for, and your indwelling Lord will assign to you your right place at all times at this eternal feast, God's feast of life. Jesus goes on and sort of changes directions, but He still sticks with the same main theme in this next paragraph. He is still speaking of the feast or the banquet, but now He brings out another aspect in this next paragraph, which immediately follows: "He said to them, also, that had invited him, 'When thou makest a dinner or supper, call not thy friends nor thy brethern nor thy kinsmen nor rich neighbors, lest haply they also bid thee again and the recompense be made thee. But when thou makest a feast, give to the poor, the maimed, the lame and the blind; and thou shall be blessed, because they have not wherewithal to recompense thee, for thou shalt be recompensed in the resurrection of the just.'"

In other words, this kind of hospitality brings out a divine reward rather than sociological reward; and what Jesus is saying here is, "Now, don't throw dinner parties for your friends", but it depends on what kind of a process you want to be involved in and what kind of results you will look for, which will determine your motivation and your modus operandi in your do-gooding in this world. What He is warning or advising, really, is against continuing to do what is a human practice that is very normal and very acceptable, especially socially, but very growth-retarding; and it is called "even exchanging" – socially acceptable, certainly - isn't it? It is definitely non-promoting of growth, and He uses as an example of this, throwing a feast and inviting only those who are more than likely to even exchange with you, giving pleasure or doing service for those from whom you can expect to get the same back in return. Now, Jesus gives this lesson in other places. What He always says is that the conclusion of this, the result of this kind of activity, is simply remaining on a status quo give and take. I give to a person because I know I will get back from him what I have given. Nothing has really happened. He says; instead, choose those who do not have the built-in assurance of giving back but who have need for what you have to offer.

Q. Is this along with the same idea of, when you are healed, don't go out and heal President Nixon but go out and heal Joe Smith's son? When you are given something, give that to the person who needs it most?

A. When you have something to give, yes. Don't spend time continuing the even exchange search; you know, what's in it for me? But who needs it most? Usually, with that attitude, you will attract to you the one who needs it most, or at least your consciousness or Spirit will arrange for you a proper channel in which this can be done, because the reward, the recompense, which is the result of such an attitude, such an activity, is what the Gospel calls "resurrection of the just, which is a high-falutin phrase; but the reward will be a divine one, rather than a materialistic or a worldly one.

Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, says to do this sort of thing not just to be recognized as having done it, because that is its own reward, and that is a very blah kind of reward; but the way He advises is, "And your Father who seeth in secret shall recompense thee." The same thing is here. If we only do for those others for whom we reasonably expect to do for us, there is no accomplishment, there is no breaking of the vicious circle of even exchange. There is no growth.

Q. This type of even exchange, in my own life and in my friend's, is often one-upmanship. You feel you must give a better party, and that is even more destructive.

A. That is right, because then ego is given more and more a place of prominence in what should be a spiritually oriented and centered type of activity, but even worse than even-exchanging all the time is seeking greater gain than one is willing to give, seeking to get the best in every kind of a giving process. This has been the downfall of whole nations, whole races, this tendency is taught to children, always try to get more than you will have to give in a situation, this shrewd bargaining and merchandising, Jesus calls it in another place. He says, instead, seek to be of service, seek to do your giving, sharing of yourself, to those who need you most, to those who have most need of what you have to share. Do not think about them being your recompense, because divine law will take care of it; and sometimes the recompense is not a restoration of what you have given but in other forms, and sometimes in more satisfying forms. For instance, sometimes our recompense for having given without thought of return or to those most needing rather than those most deserving, will be that you find that your life is vastly improved by not having that any more, by having given it away, that you didn't really need it, that it was clutter. A life that has less clutter in it can be more interesting, you know, and more creative. There are many ways, but the Father always knows best as to what the recompense will be. Usually it comes in consciousness growth. That is the best of all.

Q. I don't think the emphasis is really giving to poor, giving to the less fortunate. I think that the real message that Jesus is giving here is to give without expecting return. That means we could give to very richly blessed people but not expecting the return. That’s not saying it won't come, but the law will see that it does.

A. Yes, but I still think his use of symbolism, here, the maimed, the lame and the blind and the poor, would, in their symbols, simply be to those whom to your perception, have most need of what you have to offer, to share. I do not want to keep this in the form of money, by any means; but your understanding, your love, anything at all you have to share, which would be a feast for someone who needs it. Sometimes it is a good kick in the pants that that person needs most, and that is his feast from you. That's okay; do it in love.

Text of the original transcript of the middle of p.202 through the third paragraph of p.210.
Transcribed by Margaret Garvin on 04-07-2014