These two seemingly random thoughts appear in the teachings of both Solomon and Jesus. To paraphrase the Scriptures:
*Don't seat yourself in a place of honor. Someone else might be more deserving. Better to take a lower seat on your own and have the host promote you, than the other way around. (Proverbs 25:6-7; Luke 14:7-11)
*Don't be quick to take someone to court. You might not win. You could even end up worse off. Better to come to some agreement privately with your adversary than to turn the matter over to a court. (Proverbs 25:8-10; Luke 12:58-59)
Can you imagine attending a wedding reception and seating yourself at the front table with the bride and groom, only to be bumped like Bob Uecker in front of the whole crowd? Or, being the guy who tried to sue a dry cleaner for millions over one pair of slacks? Or, being quick to challenge that disrespectful punk, only to be met by his three homies stepping out of the shadows?
What is the common thread between these two concepts: Don't take a position of honor for yourself, and don't be quick to enter into a fight?
The common thread can be found in Romans 12:3. "Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you."
The reason for not doing the things warned against in Proverbs and Luke is the fact that we should all view ourselves from a perspective of humility, knowing that every person is made in the image of God, and equally in need of his grace.
A humble person is not one who thinks bad thoughts about himself, but rather one whose self-image is kept in the proper perspective. A humble person trusts God to sort out who needs to be honored, who gets credit for what, who is right or wrong in a conflict, and whether a conflict even needs to exist. A humble person does not make the mistake of stepping into honor or conflict, only to find he has stepped into something else altogether.
Humility: the best way to keep egg off your face.