Days like we had yesterday with warm temperatures, a cool breeze and sunshine take me back to the days out on the diamond.
I didn’t start playing until the summer going into my 10th grade year. It was too hard to try to get to school during summer before then. Our team was pretty good. And we knew it. For 2 years, we played hard knowing we had one of the best shortstops in the state. We’d kill it at bat and they couldn’t touch us on the field. It was fun winning all the time, and we couldn’t have had our heads any higher in the clouds.
And then, softball changed.
Regulations required that all schools transition from slow pitch to fast pitch.
No big deal, right? It’s still softball, only the pitch is different.
Boy, were we wrong.
I’ll never forget playing in our first game at home against Westside. We were on the field and our pitcher walked a girl. We tried to encourage her and did our normal routines of fixing our hats, our sunglasses, adjusting our glove, kicking the dirt, you know, all the stuff.
And then, all of a sudden, that girl who walked didn’t stop at first. She rounded the base and then took off to second. And there we were, in disbelief that someone would do such a thing.
“She can’t do that!” we yelled. Even our coach ran out to the field contesting the play.
And then, the ump, graciously and calmly told us this is fast pitch and the rules are different. She had every right to do that and was safe.
I mean, speechless.
We really didn’t even know what to do at that point. We had been put in our place real quick. This wasn’t the same game we had dominated before. Our ignorant pride had left us vulnerable.
“And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name. And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven. Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you. Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.”Luke 10:17-20
The 70 disciples Jesus had sent out on mission had just gotten back. They were excited to say the least. I can hear them recounting their tales of travel to Jesus, not missing any details. They had done great things for the Lord and they were proud of themselves. Slaps on the back, high fives, embraces, all of the congratulations felt in order.
And then, it was said.
“even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.”
While this statement is true and seems harmless enough, Jesus heard the truth behind their words. The emphasis here wasn’t on the power of Jesus, but on the word “us”.
Jesus graciously put them in their place. He knew what pride had done to Lucifer, one of God’s angels.
“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.”Isaiah 14:12-15
Jesus wanted these men to remember where their power came from and the purpose for it all. He had given them power to do these things and to protect them while they were out. It wasn’t for their glory, fame, and recognition, but for the glory of God and His kingdom.
Pride sneaks up on you when you least expect it. In fact, sometimes it feels like self-confidence. But pride is destructive. It means wrongly and arrogantly putting yourself above others.
Working in ministry, we have to be careful with our own pride. Just like these men, we get excited about sharing about the Lord, teaching others, bringing them to Christ, creating new things that will further His kingdom, and more than likely, we will be recognized for those successes.
But where or to whom do we give the glory?
Do we boast that it was accomplished because of us? It’s good to be reminded and refocused of what our purpose is and Who is at the center.
“Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.”1 Corinthians 10:31