Proverbs 25:6

Put not forth thyself in the presence of the king, and stand not in the place of great men:

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Here is wisdom to advance in approval with God and men. Wisdom includes discretion; discretion includes humility; humility includes reservation; and reservation is holding yourself back from speaking or interacting with important people. A wise man will never put himself forward in the presence of other persons unless and until it is necessary.

The proverb continues, “For better it is that it be said unto thee, Come up hither; than that thou shouldest be put lower in the presence of the prince whom thine eyes have seen” (Pr 25:7). It is better to let others ask you to speak or sit with them than to be told to shut up or rejected from their company. Leave it to others to invite or praise you (Pr 25:27; 27:2).

Jesus taught this same rule, “When thou art bidden of any man to a wedding, sit not down in the highest room; lest a more honourable man than thou be bidden of him; And he that bade thee and him come and say to thee, Give this man place; and thou begin with shame to take the lowest room. But when thou art bidden, go and sit down in the lowest room; that when he that bade thee cometh, he may say unto thee, Friend, go up higher: then shalt thou have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee” (Luk 14:8-10).

A wise man is never shamed by presuming on the affection or acceptance of others in public. He knows that silence leaves a better impression than speaking and being distant and detached better than flaunting himself (Pr 17:27-28). He knows that thinking too high of himself is foolish self-deception and offensive vainglory (Rom 12:3; Phil 2:3-4).

A wise man knows that even when a group of persons does not tell him to shut up or leave, they may very well be thinking those things! He would rather have those same persons earnestly desiring his presence or counsel rather than wishing he would go elsewhere. It is to the great shame of many men and women that they presume others are infatuated and pleased with their presence or mesmerized by their stories and words.

Diotrophes, a presumptuous man, who loved the preeminence in a church, proved he was not of God (III John 1:9-11). Such a spirit and conduct cannot be tolerated in a ministerial candidate, for he must be a servant, not a lord (Luke 22:24-27; I Tim 3:6; I Pet 5:1-4).

If you would be wise, you must hold yourself back from intruding into group discussions or activities where you were not invited, especially when the persons in the group are your superiors in any measure. If you have any value to them, they will soon request your presence or advice. Until then, it is better to be withdrawn and silent, safe from shame.