Thursday, May 14, 2009

Pride Cometh before a Fall, (Pain Cometh Shortly Thereafter)

Do you remember the exact moment you realized, you were no longer a spring chicken? The day you knew “over the hill” was not just a cute phrase, but rather an experience- when you no longer had the physical stamina to climb any higher and rolling down the hill hitting every rock, bush, and tree limb would now be your official form of transportation? I had that moment this past year, and I realize that I am no longer a spring chicken. I am now an old hen whose days are numbered until I will soon be made into a chicken pot pie.
It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon. The Bible School kick off was in full swing. Kids were playing basketball, volleyball, and kick ball. With the shortage on helpers that day, I stepped up to the plate (pun very much intended) to be the full time pitcher in the kick ball game. I used to be very athletic. The operative word there is “was”. (Thank God for internet where I can’t hear you laughing.) I was the only girl on a boys softball team, and in the seventh grade, I was recruited by the girls high school team to play. I was ready to re-live those glory days of high school athletics.
The game was a heated battle. Alright, I was the one overheating, and the battle was with my body trying desperately not to pass out. The moment that will in infamy, in my mind and in the x-rays, had arrived. The ball was pitched, and kicked just to the left of me. No time to wait on the first baseman to intercept it. I lunged, stopping the ball. The old girl still had it. In mid lunge I went to hurl the ball to first base to tag the runner out. I had made this same play time and time again on the softball field.
Houston we have a problem. Struggling to re-gain my balance from the lunging position, my mind flashed through my whole life of physical changes since I had last made this same play. Three pregnancies. Eight surgeries. One hundred extra pounds. Asthma. Allergies. And the all-important extra 15 years. My body continued its forward momentum, as my feet kept moving, and my torso kept leaning more and more forward. Don’t bother helping Houston. No rescue scenario will get me out of this one. I am going down.
And down I went, as ants scurried out of the way, and the earth braced itself for the impact. In the same moment I slammed to the ground, I was getting back up. While my body was not what it used be, my pride was. Being carried off the field as an 18 year-old who took one for the team was an honor. Being carried off the field as a 33 year old who took one for Bible School with no trophy or pennant to show for it would just be embarrassing. I jumped up, grabbed the ball, and yelled, “All right, who’s up next?”
My body did all the yelling after that.
As I went to pitch the ball with my left hand, oddly I could only move 3 fingers. As I released the ball with my arm in mid air, I noticed a large knot on my left forearm. My hand began to throb in Morse code. “Pain. Pain. Pain.” My jeans had grass stains and dirt all over them. My shirt was covered in grass and a few ants that didn’t make it and my shoulders were aching. After attempting to continue playing with one hand, I decided I had had enough. It was time to throw in the towel, or at least have it filled with ice to nurse my wounds. I went in, admitted my defeat to the other workers, and sat down with a bag of frozen green peppers on my hand.
After 2 trips to the emergency room in 2 days, I was diagnosed with contusions, a broke finger, and shattered pride.
I still had a week of Bible School ahead of me. Fortunately, this year we were doing it a little different. I was going to tell the Bible story each night, to each class. I had decided to dress up in costumes and do monologues each night, sort of like a one man play. It went very well. The room was quiet, the kids and adults were completely engaged in the lesson, and Christ was magnified. I was right where I was supposed to be. I felt peace, fulfillment, and God’s anointing each night as I performed what God had gifted me and instructed me to do.
That week left me with such a different feeling than Saturday had. On Saturday, I went where I wanted to be. I volunteered to work the kick ball game where I thought I would be magnified. I gave little thought to my calling, or limitations, and I suffered for it. Don’t we sometimes do that spiritually? We sign up to work in church where we want to work, but not where God has led us to work. We are drawn to people we want to be around, and not reaching out to the people desperately needing to be around the Christ with in us. We allow our flesh to determine our spiritual actions, when our spirit man should be determining what our flesh should be doing. When we make those wrong decisions, it is the Body of Christ that suffers. We disable the foot of Christ, or as I now know, the hand of Christ from working effectively.
Sometimes, it is not in just being in the wrong place that hurts the Body of Christ, it is not showing up at all. When we leave the position God has called us to fill vacant, someone must fill it. That someone may do all right, but there will be a void left still.
Don’t let pride keep us from where God as gifted and equipped us to go. Don’t let the enemy use us to disable another part of the Body of Christ from being effective. Pride is a dangerous and sometimes painful thing. Proverbs 29:23 reads, “A man’s pride shall bring him low.” God words, even to this little verse shall come to pass. He brought me face down in the dirt, low. The only place lower would be six feet under. Pride does come before the fall, and pain cometh shortly thereafter. Don’t let the Body of Christ suffer the pain that your pride has caused.

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