Jason's parents took us out for lunch, and after that, we dropped off some food for a family in our church that is going through some difficult times. While there, Jason also did some repair work on their only vehicle, and by the time we finished there, it was less than two hours before choir practice. From that location, it would have taken us thirty minutes to get home and then another thirty to drive back to church, so we thought it would be best to simply drive back to church and get some work done there. This was fine, but by the time church began, my back was killing me. I would like to believe that this was the cause of the attitude that came on, but I fear it was not.
On two separate occasions before church began, two different people complimented me in such a way that my head grew about two sizes. By the time church started, my back was throbbing but I felt very good about myself and my abilities. A little too good, it would seem. Proverbs 16:18 tells us, Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall. Pride had found a home, and unfortunately, the destruction and fall followed promptly on its heels.
As I was wrapping up my evening offertory, I realized that I had not prepared anything for the children's offering which immediately follows the regular offering. The guitarist usually plays for that, but he was out of town, and I hadn't even thought about it. So, I finished my offertory and flipped through my book for something light and upbeat. Finding the perfect song, I pulled the music from the sheet protector (it's printed horizontally instead of vertically) and placed the two pages on the music stand. As I neared the end of the second page, I realized that the song continued on the third page--the third page that was still in the sheet protector in the book that lay on top of the piano. My mind rushed about, trying to figure out how to devise my own ending and finish the song. The children were finished and returning with their baskets, so I needed to end. I struck a chord and grimaced. Wrong chord. Flustered, I looked for a place to pick up the melody and salvage what was left of the piece. It was as if my hands took on a life of their own. Despite my willingness, they continued to beat out one wrong chord after another. I willed them to stop. I begged them to simply quit playing, but noooooooo! They continued. Until finally finding the ending chord of the song.
I let out a breath and shook my head, and the entire church erupted in laughter. The pastor looked at me and asked, "Was that a new ending?" Mortified and trying to refrain from bursting into tears of embarrassment, I replied, "Yeah, I made that up myself. Do you like it?" From there, I hurried to my pew and tried to regain my composure. It didn't happen!
Here, some kind people had tried to give me a word of encouragement, but I had translated it into, "Wow, I sure do have it all together. Look at me." Well, everyone was looking at me, and you know, it wasn't all that I thought it would be. I guess I deserved a good dose of humble pie, and let me tell you, it wasn't tasty.
If I could leave you with one word of advice today, it would be this: keep your pride in check. No, we shouldn't be negative about ourselves and forever putting ourselves down. There is a healthy level of self-respect, but keeping that balance can be a tricky thing, especially when people are telling you how great you are. What I failed to do yesterday was to remember that whatever I am, I am because of God's grace. It is He that works in and through me, and I can't take credit for any of that. Please don't make the same mistake I made. You may find yourself the center of attention, but like me, you may discover that the position is not all that it's cracked up to be.
For if a man think himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. - Galatians 6:3