Tag Archives: Arrogance

Knowing You Don’t

The man with the money turned out to be a con-artist and a crook.  And when everything came crashing down, I thought I’d been ruined.  After months of negotiations, we were about to close on the sale of our business.  Mentally, I was already spending the money.  The night before the closing, the whole deal evaporated – in the space of one phone call.  Poof!  Gone!  That happened 30 years ago.  Now, I can look back, grateful for how it worked out. What seemed like a setback actually directed me down the road to a most satisfying and life-changing career.  But at the time?  Ouch!  Would that I had known these words:

” Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”” (James 4:13-15)

My wife and I have experienced more than one of those sudden detours.  We have figured out how little we truly know or control what tomorrow holds.  In response to that truth, James basically says, understand these two things:

  • There is a God
  • You are not Him

But he also adds this insight: “What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.”  Not only do we not know what tomorrow holds, we also don’t know if tomorrow will exist for us!  What do we do in the face of that reality?

“As it is, you boast and brag. All such boasting is evil. Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn’t do it, sins. “ (James 4:16-17)

In short:

  • Be humble
  • Since life is short, instead of building yourself a paradise you can’t keep, do good while you have the chance!

Chew on that…

 

 

Quotes: The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (electronic ed.). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

No Elvis Eyes

Picture Elvis.  The sparkles of his sequined, high-collared costume, the swagger, the hair, the sweat…   He takes a scarf and bestows it on one of his adoring fans.  Look at his eyes.  Can you see them?  He had Elvis eyes because he was “The King.”   Everywhere he went, he was treated like royalty.  But Elvis was only “The King” for lovers of that kind of music.  What would it feel like to be the King of a growing, strong and influential country?  What would the look in his eyes be like?

King David was all of that.  True, he also played music, but David was the King of everybody, not just those who liked his music.  Imagine how powerful and privileged he must have felt.  On a whim, he could send out hundreds of warriors.  He literally had the power of life and death over his subjects.  And yet, here is what he said about his eyes:

“My heart is not proud, O Lord, my eyes are not haughty…”  (Psalm 131 1a)

It intrigues me that people can tell what you really think by looking at your eyes.  I can’t describe haughty eyes, but I know when I see them.  David, the King of the whole country (which was at that time, a major player in the Middle East) says “my eyes are not haughty…”   No Elvis eyes on David.  I’ve seen books written about how to dress in a way that intimidates others.  No doubt, someone has written a book about how to succeed by showing arrogance in your eyes.  But David, who must have surely been tempted to think he was something special, confessed, “My heart is not proud…”  Why not?

David didn’t look down on others because he was too busy looking up to God.

“I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me. O Israel, put your hope in the Lord both now and forevermore.” (Psalm 131:1b-3)

What do you suppose this world would be like if our leaders looked up to God and not down on us?  What if they humbly admitted that there were “great matters [and] things too wonderful for [them]?”  Things that filled them with wonder and awe, things that reminded them of God’s position and power?  How would the world be different if its leaders all “stilled and quieted” their souls before God, resting in Him like a weaned child with its mother?

Do you yearn for a world like that?  I do.  If so, start with this:  Check your eyes.  God will “…save the humble but bring low those whose eyes are haughty” (Psalm 18:27b).  And pray: “Thy Kingdom come…”