Luke 14:9 Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room
Early on in my training, I attended a lecture in a large conference room. Arriving late, I found that only one seat was available, and it was on the front row. In the complex hierarchy of those present, my status was at the bottom of the pecking order. As I went to sit down, I was informed that the seat was reserved for the speaker, Dr. "So and so." With shame and in view of all present, I walked to the back of the room to take my place standing behind the back row of seats. I immediately thought of this scripture and thought to myself, "you idiot! Now you really know what it feels like 'to take the lowest room' with shame."
Such will be the shame of the proud latter-day saint at the judgment bar. While expecting some great seat in the kingdom of God, he is horrified to learn where he really belongs in the economy of God's celestial order.
Luke 14:10 But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room
Dallin H. Oaks
"In this way the Savior used a current circumstance to teach an eternal principle about attitudes toward others and ourselves. The proud man, who goes to a wedding and compares himself to the other guests, may conclude that he is better than they and seat himself in the highest room. The humble man, who has great reverence and respect for his host and who thinks only of his good fortune to be invited at all, will seat himself in the lowest room. Out of these contrasting attitudes-one pridefully comparing himself to other men and the other humbly appreciating his inadequacy in the house of his Master-came the Savior's conclusion:
'For whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted' (Luke 14:11).
"As Elder Antoine R. Ivins said: 'No man can compare himself with his ideals and be proud or haughty. The proud and the haughty are only they who compare themselves with more unfortunate people than they.' (Conference Report, October 1943, p. 110.)" (Pure in Heart [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1988], 102.)
Luke 14:11 whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted
"According to the philosophy of our religion we understand that if [the Savior] had not descended below all things, he could not have ascended above all things." (Journal of Discourses, 26 vols. [London: Latter-day Saints' Book Depot, 1854-1886], 3: 365.)
"The true principle of honor in the Church of the Saints, that the more a man is exalted, the more humble he will be, if actuated by the Spirit of the Lord." (The Papers of Joseph Smith, 2 vols. 1:23)
Spencer W. Kimball
"Humility makes no bid for popularity and notoriety; demands no honors....It is not self-abasement-the hiding in the corner, the devaluation of everything one does or thinks or says; but it is the doing of one's best in every case and leaving of one's acts, expressions, and accomplishments to largely speak for themselves.
"...Frequently in calling men to high places in stakes, missions, and wards, they say they are willing but feel so inadequate. We usually say: 'We are glad you feel inadequate. That means you will be humble and do all in your power to make yourself able. You will call upon the Lord, the source of power and strength.'" (January 16, 1963, BYU Speeches of the Year, 1963 5.)
Gordon B. Hinckley
"People ask me frequently what is my favorite verse of scripture. I have many and this is one of them, 'Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers' (D&C 112:10). What a promise to those who walk without arrogance, to those who walk without conceit, to those who walk without egotism, to those who walk humbly. 'Be thou humble; and the Lord thy God shall lead thee by the hand, and give thee answer to thy prayers.' What a solid and wonderful promise that is." (Teachings of Gordon B. Hinckley [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1997], 265.)
Howard W. Hunter
"Humility is an attribute of godliness possessed by true Saints. It is easy to understand why a proud man fails. He is content to rely upon himself only. This is evident in those who seek social position or who push others aside to gain position in fields of business, government, education, sports, or other endeavors. Our genuine concern should be for the success of others. The proud man shuts himself off from God, and when he does he no longer lives in the light. The Apostle Peter made this comment:
Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time.' (1 Pet. 5:5-6.)
"From the beginning of time there have been those with pride and others who have followed divine admonition to be humble. History bears record that those who have exalted themselves have been abased, but the humble have been exalted. On every busy street there are Pharisees and publicans. It may be that one of them bears our name." ("The Pharisee and the Publican," Ensign, May 1984, 66)
Luke 14:15 Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God
Bruce R. McConkie
"According to Jewish tradition, the resurrection of the just, and the subsequent setting up of the kingdom of God, was to be ushered in by a great festival in which all of the chosen people would participate. Hence their saying: 'Blessed is he that shall eat bread in the kingdom of God.' As a response to this very statement, Jesus tells of a certain man who gives a great supper. The guests who are bidden excuse themselves for frivolous and foolish reasons. Thereupon the master of the house, being angry, turns away from the covenant people, to whom he first offered the good things of his gospel table. Now he invites the Gentiles, in their spiritually halt and lame and blind status, as well as the pagans and foreigners who live at a great distance-he invites all these to come and eat at his table. (Luke 14:12-24.)
"And thus it is reaffirmed that the blessings of the gospel profit only those who feast upon the eternal word, and that the alien and the foreigner who feast on the good work of God shall be blessed when the Supper of the Great God is prepared to usher in his millennial reign. It is of that feast of good things that the elders of Israel are now inviting all men to partake." (The Millennial Messiah: The Second Coming of the Son of Man [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1982], 346.)
Luke 14:16-24 A certain man made a great supper, and bade many
James E. Talmage
"The covenant people, Israel, were the specially invited guests. They had been bidden long enough aforetime, and by their own profession as the Lord's own had agreed to be partakers of the feast. When all was ready, on the appointed day, they were severally summoned by the Messenger who had been sent by the Father; He was even then in their midst. But the cares of riches, the allurement of material things, and the pleasures of social and domestic life had engrossed them; and they prayed to be excused or irreverently declared they could not or would not come. Then the gladsome invitation was to be carried to the Gentiles, who were looked upon as spiritually poor, maimed, halt, and blind. And later, even the pagans beyond the walls, strangers in the gates of the holy city, would be bidden to the supper. These, surprised at the unexpected summons, would hesitate, until by gentle urging and effective assurance that they were really included among the bidden guests, they would feel themselves constrained or compelled to come. The possibility of some of the discourteous ones arriving later, after they had attended to their more absorbing affairs, is indicated in the Lord's closing words: 'For I say unto you, That none of those men which were bidden shall taste of my supper.'" (Jesus the Christ, 420)
Luke 14:18 they all with one consent began to make excuse
F. Burton Howard
"If the Lord is providing his own commentary on the parable of the great supper-and it seems that he is-then it is frightening to note that those who declined the invitation were those more concerned with temporal problems-for example, a piece of ground, a yoke of oxen, or a wife who did not understand the significance of the supper. As we look at the part riches play in this parable, we can see that there is great risk in them-risk that concern for material things may cloud our view of what is eternally important." ("Overcoming the World," Ensign, Sept. 1996, 13)
Luke 14:23 compel them to come in, that my house may be filled
Orson F. Whitney
"But you are wondering what the Lord of the Feast meant when he sent his servant to 'compel them to come in.' I believe this to be the solution: God will never coerce the human mind-never fetter the human will. He will force no man into heaven; no man into hell. But he has never said that he would not create compelling situations, and so shape human affairs as to induce men and women to do things of their own volition that they would not do if circumstances remained unchanged." (Conference Report, April 1918, Afternoon Session. 76.)
Luke 14:26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother
"Hate as used here is a hyperbole expressed in terms of gospel absolutism. We have the same idea expressed by Matthew, who records the Savior as saying, 'He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me' (Matthew 10:37). The meaning of both passages is the same. Salvation is and always has been a family affair. Jesus is merely saying that in the event of conflict between family and the principles of salvation, our loyalty and responsibility must be first to God." (Joseph Fielding McConkie, Gospel Symbolism [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1999], 23.)
Joseph Fielding Smith
"To say that his disciples must hate all that is dear to them is surely a hard saying. But we discover from other interpretations of the doctrine (Matt. 10:37-38) that the meaning is that anyone who loves his father, mother, wife, and all that is dear to him, even his own life, more than he loves Christ, is not worthy of him and cannot be his disciple. The thought is very clear in this instruction that all who seek eternal life are required to come to Christ willing to give up all that they possess, if necessary. Should they be unwilling to do so, even to the laying down of life in his cause, then they are not worthy of his kingdom. This is reasonable; no unjust demand is made by our Savior, for he came and laid down his life for us that we might have life everlasting. He suffered for us; should we not love him more than we love our own lives?" (The Way to Perfection [Salt Lake City: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1949], 272 - 273.)
JST Luke 14:28 settle this in your hearts, that ye will do the things which I shall teach, and command you
Neal A. Maxwell
"Jesus counseled His disciples, 'Wherefore, settle this in your hearts, that ye will do the things which I shall teach, and command you.' (JST, Luke 14:28.) Getting thus settled precedes consecration...Being settled keeps us from responding to every little ripple of dissent as if it were a tidal wave. We are to be disciples, not oscillators, like a 'reed shaken with the wind.' (Matt. 11:7.) More members need the immense relief and peace which can come from being 'settled' without which those individuals will be like 'the troubled sea, when it cannot rest.' (Isa. 57:20.)
"There is another special reason to become settled: we will live in a time in which 'all things shall be in commotion.' (D&C 88:91; D&C 45:26.) The uncertainties, upheavals, and topsy-turviness of today's world will be such that those who vacillate and equivocate will be tossed about by severe turbulence.
"...Brothers and sisters, whatever we embrace instead of Jesus and His work will keep us from qualifying to enter His kingdom and therefore from being embraced by Him. (See Morm. 6:17.)
"May we get settled and prepare now for that marvelous moment then, I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, amen!" ("Settle This in Your Hearts," Ensign, Nov. 1992, 67)
Neal A. Maxwell
"Consecration is thus both a principle and a process and is not tied to a single moment. Instead, it is freely given, drop by drop, until the cup of consecration brims and finally runs over.
"Long before that, however, as Jesus declared, we must 'settle this in [our] hearts' that we will do what He asks of us (JST, Luke 14:28). President Young further counseled us 'to submit to the hand of the Lord, . . . and acknowledge his hand in all things, . . . then you will be exactly right; and until you come to that point, you cannot be entirely right. That is what we have to come to.'" (If Thou Endure It Well [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1996], 53.)
Neal A. Maxwell
"Meekness helps us to get things settled. Submissiveness to certain allotted circumstances cannot be achieved without the relevant meekness. Meekness not only brings its own rewards, it is also a virtue that, once in place and once our hearts are settled, can do much to renew itself." (Meek and Lowly [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1987], 99.)
Luke 14:28 which of you...sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost?
"The Christian landscape is strewn with the wreckage of derelict, half-built towers-the ruins of those who began to build and were unable to finish. For thousands of people still ignore Christ's warning and undertake to follow him without first pausing to reflect on the cost of doing so. The result is the great scandal of Christendom today, so-called 'nominal Christianity.' In countries to which Christian civilization has spread, large numbers of people have covered themselves with a decent, but thin, veneer of Christianity. They have allowed themselves to become somewhat involved; enough to be respectable but not enough to be uncomfortable. Their religion is a great, soft cushion. It protects them from the hard unpleasantness of life, while changing its place and shape to suit their convenience. No wonder the cynics speak of hypocrites in the church and dismiss religion as escapism." (John R. W. Stott, Basic Christianity (London: Inter-Varsity Press, 1958), p. 108.)
Neal A. Maxwell
"While we cannot expect discipleship to be cost free, we can receive God's helping grace, including compensatory blessings, along with inner joy over what is jettisoned in putting off the natural man...We can ease the stress induced by our inconsistency, pain through which we put ourselves repeatedly. Unfortunately, like Oliver Cowdery, we do not always 'continue as [we] commenced' (D&C 9:5). As with our wasteful automobile driving habits that consume extra energy because of quick starts and stops, so it may be that with inconsistent discipleship we actually inflict costs on ourselves in the face of divine counsel." (Men and Women of Christ [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1991], 25.)
John H. Vandenberg
"The admonition of our Church leaders has always been to stay out of unwarrantable debt. We should 'shy away from debt as we would a plague' was the counsel of the late President J. Reuben Clark, Jr. He also warned: 'To buy on the installment plan means to mortgage your future earnings. If, through sickness or death or through loss of work, the earnings cease, the property bought is lost, together with what has been put into it.' President Joseph F. Smith said: 'It is highly proper for the Latter-day Saints to get out of debt.'
"We ought not to allow financial problems to enter our homes to cause the family unit to deteriorate. We ought to hearken to the Savior as we build and establish our homes. I think his advice is a trustworthy guide for us today, for he said:
Saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.' (Luke 14:28-30.)
"The principle here is: be sure you have a program to pay your way before you buy. It was sound 2,000 years ago; it is still a sound practice today." (Conference Report, October 1966, Afternoon Meeting 67.)
Luke 14:30 This man began to build, and was not able to finish
"All of us can accomplish a great deal in life if we are willing to pay the price of persistence. But are we willing to pay that price? Most of us are good starters and poor finishers of everything we begin. Moreover, we are prone to give up at the first signs of defeat. As stated by Buffon, the great French naturalist, 'Most people are willing to do a thing once, many will do it twice, some will do it ten times, and a few will do it a hundred times-but I, Buffon, will keep on doing the same thing again and again a thousand times, if necessary, until I have finally done it right.' If we really want to succeed we cannot give up the tenth time or even the hundredth time. No matter how rough the going, we must persist until at last the goal is ours. The will to succeed expresses itself only through perseverance." (Roderick L. Cameron, Grant Oratorical Contest, December 1, 1964, BYU Speeches of the Year, 1964, p. 4)
"The call to discipleship is a call to continue. To carry on. To persist. To endure. To finish. The Lord needs finishers, those who make the commitment and then walk the road-no matter the difficulty or challenge-to the very end." (Robert L. Millet, An Eye Single to the Glory of God: Reflections on the Cost of Discipleship [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1991], 80.)
Thomas S. Monson
"One Wednesday I paused before the elegant show window of a prestigious furniture store. That which caught and held my attention was not the beautifully designed sofa nor the comfortable appearing chair which stood at its side. Neither was it the beautiful chandelier positioned overhead. Rather, my eyes rested upon a small sign which had been placed at the bottom right-hand corner of the window. Its message was brief: 'FINSIHERS WANTED.' The store had need of those persons who possessed the talent and the skill to make ready for final sale the expensive furniture the firm manufactured and sold. 'Finishers Wanted.' The words remained with me as I returned to the pressing activities of the day.
"In life, as in business, there has always been a need for those persons who could be called finishers. Their ranks are few, their opportunities many, their contributions great.
"From the very beginning to the present time, a fundamental question remains to be answered by each who runs the race of life. Shall I falter, or shall I finish? On the answer await the blessings of joy and happiness here in mortality and eternal life in the world to come." ("Finishers Wanted," Ensign, June 1989, 2)
Luke 14:31 what king, going to make war...sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able
Sterling W. Sill
"'...what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand?' (Luke 14:28-31.)
"Just think how many things there are in life that we quit with serious consequences to ourselves. We frequently see disaster when we quit our marriage through a divorce, or we quit our business through bankruptcy, or we quit our employment through failure, or we give up our citizenship through treason, or we quit our church membership through apostasy, or we break off our relationship with God by our sins.
"It is probable that no one ever does any of these things deliberately. We just let our personal situation deteriorate until it almost falls to pieces of its own weight. Someone has said, 'I never had to put religion out of my mind; I was so open-minded that it fell out.' Some people say they have fallen out of love as though they themselves had nothing to do with it. Or that they have lost interest in the church through no fault of their own. Or that their patriotism just happened to die for no reason at all. It is probable that none of these are ever true. Satan did not fall from heaven until after he had committed so many sins of rebellion and betrayal that his further residence in heaven was impossible." (Principles, Promises, and Powers [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1973], 228 - 229.)
Luke 14:33 whosoever...forsaketh not all that he hath...cannot be my disciple
"For a man to lay down his all, his character and reputation, his honor, and applause, his good name among men, his houses, his lands, his brothers and sisters, his wife and children, and even his own life also-counting all things but filth and dross for the excellency of the knowledge of Jesus Christ-requires more than mere belief or supposition that he is doing the will of God; but actual knowledge, realizing that, when these sufferings are ended, he will enter into eternal rest, and be a partaker of the glory of God... Let us here observe, that a religion that does not require the sacrifice of all things never has power sufficient to produce the faith necessary unto life and salvation; for, from the first existence of man, the faith necessary unto the enjoyment of life and salvation never could be obtained without the sacrifice of all earthly things. It was through this sacrifice, and this only, that God has ordained that men should enjoy eternal life; and it is through the medium of the sacrifice of all earthly things that men do actually know that they are doing the things that are well pleasing in the sight of God." (Lectures on Faith, 6:5-7)
Gordon B. Hinckley
"Mine has been the opportunity to meet many wonderful men and women in various parts of the world. A few of them have left an indelible impression upon me. One such was a naval officer from Asia, a brilliant young man who had been brought to the United States for advanced training. Some of his associates in the United States Navy, whose behavior had attracted him, shared with him at his request their religious beliefs. He was not a Christian, but he was interested. They told him of the Savior of the world, of Jesus born in Bethlehem, who gave his life for all mankind. They told him of the appearance of God, the Eternal Father, and the resurrected Lord to the boy Joseph Smith. They spoke of modern prophets. They taught him the gospel of the Master. The Spirit touched his heart, and he was baptized.
"He was introduced to me just before he was to return to his native land. We spoke of these things, and then I said, 'Your people are not Christians. You come from a land where Christians have had a difficult time. What will happen when you return home a Christian and, more particularly, a Mormon Christian?'
"His face clouded, and he replied, 'My family will be disappointed. I suppose they will cast me out. They will regard me as dead. As for my future and my career, I assume that all opportunity will be foreclosed against me."
"I asked, 'Are you willing to pay so great a price for the gospel?'
"His dark eyes, moistened by tears, shone from his handsome brown face as he answered, 'It's true, isn't it?'
"Ashamed at having asked the question, I responded, 'Yes, it's true.'
"To which he replied, 'Then what else matters?'" ("The True Strength of the Church," Ensign, July 1973, 48 as taken from Latter-day Commentary on the New Testament: The Four Gospels, by Pinegar, Bassett, and Earl, p. 252)
James E. Faust
"True followers of the Savior should be prepared to lay down their lives, and some have been privileged to do so. Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, 'When Christ calls a man, He bids him to come and die.' The Doctrine and Covenants counsels us, 'Let no man be afraid to lay down his life for my sake; for whoso layeth down his life for my sake shall find it again. And whoso is not willing to lay down his life for my sake is not my disciple.' (D&C 103:27-28.) For most of us, however, what is required is not to die for the Church, but to live for it. The Price of Discipleship...may mean leaving behind many things. Some have learned how dear a price it is to leave loved ones in order to be baptized. 'If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.' (Luke 14:26.)
"Living a Christlike life every day may for many be even more difficult than laying down one's life. We learned during wartime that many men were capable of great acts of selflessness, heroism, and nobility with regard to life. But when the war was over and they came home, they could not bear up under the burdens of living the eternal every day, and became enslaved by tobacco, alcohol, drugs, and debauchery that in the end caused them to forfeit their lives." (To Reach Even unto You [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1980], 114-115.)
Luke 14:34 if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned?
Mark E. Petersen
"How do we lose the savor that followers of the Lord should have? We lose it as we cease to serve Him, or even by becoming casual in our obedience. For example, if we become careless about attending our meetings, do we not lose some of the savor that good salt should have? If we neglect our prayers, our tithes and offerings, what becomes of our savor?" ("The Savor of Men," Ensign, Nov. 1976, 50 as taken from Latter-day Commentary on the New Testament: The Four Gospels, by Pinegar, Bassett, and Earl, p. 254)
JST Luke 14:35-37 We have Moses and the prophets
The Pharisees seemed to hope for salvation by association. They associated themselves with only the most righteous Pharisees, giving them seats of honor at their pious feasts. They declared in their hearts, 'We have Abraham to our father' (Luke 3:8) as if such a lineage were a sure ticket into the kingdom of God. Now, their salvation by association doctrine stakes yet another claim, 'We have Moses and the prophets, and whosoever shall live by them, shall he not have life?' If Abinadi had been present at the feast, we might imagine him answering as follows: 'salvation doth not come by the law alone; and were it not for the atonement, which God himself shall make for the sins and iniquities of his people...[you] must unavoidably perish, notwithstanding the law of Moses' (Mosiah 13:28). Indeed, there are great parallels between Christ's interaction with these Pharisees and Abinadi's interaction with Noah's wicked priests.
Christ and the Pharisees
Abinadi and the priests
We have Moses and the prophets, and whosoever shall live by them, shall he not have life?
We teach the law of Moses (Mosiah 13:28)
Ye know not Moses...
If ye teach the law of Moses why do ye not keep it? (Mosiah 12:29)
Ye know not Moses neither the prophets; for if ye had known them, ye would have believed on me; for to this intent they were written.
They did not understand the law...For behold did not Moses prophesy unto them concerning the coming of the Messiah, and that God should redeem his people? Yea, and even all the prophets who have prophesied ever since the world began-have they not spoken more or less concerning these things (Mosiah 13:32-33).
For I am sent that ye might have life.
God himself should come down among the children of men...that he should bring to pass the resurrection of the dead (Mosiah 13:35)
The above example is just another case of scriptural history repeating itself. The pattern goes on and on. In our day as well, there is a corollary to this doctrine of salvation by association. Of necessity, it reveres dead prophets and denies living ones.
"'We have Moses and want no Jesus,' was the ancient cry of the Pharisaic mob; the modern one is, 'We have Jesus and want no Joseph Smith.'" (Contributor, vol. 1 (October 1879-September 1880), Vol. I. September, 1880 No. 12. 281.)