“Many of the pitfalls of pride can be avoided if you suck at everything.”
“That was a great service. Thank you so much. I wish we lived closer; we’d come to your church every Sunday.”
Pretty much every time I speak somewhere that isn’t my church (weddings, funerals, pulpit supply, etc.), people say something like this to me. It’s nice. It’s flattering. But it doesn’t last.
When I come back from such speaking engagements, I know my church will put me back in my place.
The thrill of actually having a crowd to talk to and the appreciative reception of yesterday will be met by the empty chairs and half-asleep apathetic handful of people in my church.
It’s good for me. It keeps me grounded. Having a weekly reminder of how pathetic I am is safe ground. It’s hard to get a big head when it’s constantly being deflated.
I tried writing a weekly handout for our church. I really worked at being interesting and informative. I even edited. I’d print out an ambitious 12 copies and announce them. I’d take ten copies home with me. Humility.
I would visit people to show them I cared, only to have them tell me all the problems they have with my church and why they won’t be there Sunday. Humility.
I make hospital visits, only to hear too many details and have to go puke in the bathroom after ten minutes. Humility.
Anytime friends or family visit my church, it’s guaranteed that 80% of my church will be out of town, sick, or busy that weekend. My family and friends will get to see my church of eight people. Humility.
Pride is the source of most of our sin and the root of our problems. Regularly being humbled is a great way to grow in faith and avoid much sin.
Oh sure, humility can lead to pride’s cousin self-pity, but alas, at least self-pity is just me quietly weeping in the corner. At least I’m not having affairs and bossing everyone around.
Take my advice: Success comes with too many temptations. Do everything you can to avoid those temptations by sucking at everything!
(Don’t worry; my tongue, although not firmly planted in my cheek, is in the general direction of my cheek as I write this.)
“We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things.”
–1 Corinthians 4:13