Altar Call – Opelika-Auburn News
July 12, 2015
Pride is a blessing robber
goes with power and affluence like fleas go with a dog. The rich and famous often
think they are a cut above common people. The bank president does not go to
lunch with the bank’s custodian. The hotel owner does not socialize with the
maids who clean the hotel’s rooms. People are expected to know their “place”
and respect those with a higher rank in life.
is not a modern idea. People thought like this, for example, in the days of the
prophet Elisha. Naaman, the commander of Syria’s
army, exercised great power, second only to that of the king. The General was
used to having people quickly obey his commands.
Naaman had a problem he could not solve. He had
leprosy. And there was no known cure for the dread disease. His wife’s slave
girl suggested he seek out Elisha of Israel for a cure. Desperate for help, Naaman asks the king for a letter of recommendation.
Securing it, he shows up at Elisha’s home with his entourage of horses and
chariots and impressive gifts for the prophet.
was not impressed. Instead he felt the pompous commander should be taught a
lesson. So he refuses to welcome the proud general into his home. Rather than speaking
directly to Naaman, Elisha sends his assistant out
with instructions to Naaman to bathe seven times in
the Jordan River.
was enraged by Elisha’s lack of hospitality and the prophet’s solution for
healing. He saw no reason to bathe in
the Jordan when he had cleaner rivers back home in Syria. His pride nearly cost
him the healing God was ready to give him. His servants saved the day by
encouraging Naaman to obey the prophet. So he humbled
himself, obeyed Elisha and was immediately healed of his leprosy.
is costly. It can rob us the blessings that God wants to give us. When we are
tempted to be prideful, it helps to remember a beautiful principle of the Kingdom
of God: Blessing follows obedience. Foolish pride can deprive us of the thing
we need the most. Humbly obeying God opens the floodgates of heaven, allowing
us to receive God’s blessings.
we are willing to “come down off our high horse,” there are lessons we can
never learn and joys we cannot receive. I had been married for several years
before it dawned on me that someone other than me was cleaning the toilet in
our home. That someone was my wife. Meditating one day on the humility of
Jesus, who stooped to wash his disciples’ feet, my heart was stabbed awake by
the awareness that I had expected my wife to do the toilet cleaning. Ashamed of
myself, I began to share this mundane chore. Humility helped me overcome
Reporters and city officials gathered at a Chicago railroad station one afternoon in 1953. They were waiting to meet the 1952 Nobel Peace Prize winner. A few minutes after the train came to a stop, a giant of a man with bushy hair and a large mustache stepped from the train. Cameras flashed. City officials met him with hands outstretched, telling him how honored they were to meet him.
The man thanked them but looking over their heads, asked if he could be excused for a moment. He quickly walked to the side of an elderly black woman struggling with two large suitcases. He picked up the bags and escorted the woman to a bus. Helping her aboard, he wished her a safe journey. As he returned to those who had greeted him he apologized, "Sorry to have kept you waiting."
The man was Albert Schweitzer, the famous missionary doctor who had spent his life helping care for the poor in Africa. In response to Schweitzer's action, one person said with admiration to a reporter, "That's the first time I ever saw a sermon walking."
may be rare but it is the only cure for the pride that blocks our knowing God
and receiving the blessings he wants to give us. +