Tag Archives: pride

The Greater Accomplishment

Story of the Day for Wednesday September 5, 2012

The Greater Accomplishment

 

                    How you have fallen from the sky, O morning star, the son of the dawn!  You, who once brought down other nations, have been thrown down to the earth. 

                                                                                                        Isaiah 14:12

 

Ellis played fiddle for barn dances and found his horse stolen afterward. He did such a brilliant job of discovering the thief that he was asked to find other people’s stolen horses. Ellis Parker’s skill was so uncanny that, in 1892, he became the Chief of Detectives for Burlington County, New Jersey – despite being only twenty-one and lacking a high school education.

Without access to modern forensic technology, Parker relied on his wits. And he could notice incongruities and odd details like no one else. Soon, he became known as a real-life Sherlock Holmes.

In his forty year career, Parker took on 236 murder cases, and solved all but ten of them. Ellis boasted that he never used an ounce of force on any suspect, yet, in over half of his cases, he talked the guilty party into signing a confession of guilt before the trial.

 

During World War I, federal agents had been unable to find a wireless station that would interfere with public broadcasts. The Department of Justice hired Parker, who not only deduced that the wireless was operated from a car running up and down the coast, but actually located the car itself.

 

Yet, none of his fame went to his head. He turned down many high-profile cases and better paying positions to stay in his sleepy town of Mt. Holly – where everyone called him by his first name. Instead of cashing in on his fame, he allowed writers free access to his files.

 

But, late in his career, something changed in him. Charles Lindbergh’s toddler was kidnapped, and it immediately became known as The Crime of the Century. The detective who solved this case would be world famous and covered in glory. Yet, even though the kidnapping took place only miles from Parker’s hometown, no one invited him to help solve the crime.

Something seemed to snap. Ellis Parker became obsessed with the Lindbergh baby kidnapping, and, even though he had no access to police records, tried to find the killer based on details reported in the newspaper.

Convinced the police had arrested the wrong suspect, Parker became a criminal himself. He had another suspect kidnapped in order to extort a confession.

Ellis Parker Sr., who will always be known as America’s greatest detective, was tried and convicted for kidnapping. He died in federal prison.

 

The admiration of others is fine . . . until we crave it. We so easily dream of great achievement and fame, but the greater accomplishment is maintaining a humble heart.

(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

 

A Robe Dipped in Blood

Story of the Day for Wednesday August 8, 2012 

 

A Robe Dipped in Blood

 

 

                Pride goes before destruction, and an arrogant attitude before a fall.

                                                  Proverbs 16:18

 

 

England did her best when they sent General Edward Braddock to the Colonies during the French and Indian War of 1754 – 1763.

He arrived in his shiny brass buttons as commander-in-chief of North America, and led two brigades through the Pennsylvania wilderness to recapture Fort Duquesne (where Pittsburgh sits today).

Benjamin Franklin met with Braddock beforehand and warned him against Indian ambushes, but the general sniffed at the suggestion that savages could intimidate his highly trained British soldiers. Franklin observed later that Braddock “had too much self-confidence” and too low an opinion of the Indians.

A Virginia militia volunteered to fight with the British, and their young, 23-year-old leader, suggested that his rangers lead the expedition, since they understood Indian tactics and were familiar with the terrain. The 60-year-old Braddock was offended: “What! An American buskin teach a British general how to fight!”

The Virginians were sent to the rear.

 

The British march was a display of pomp and military precision. One observer said, “General Braddock marched through this wilderness as if he had been in a review in St. James Park.” The general sacrificed speed for ceremony, and, as a result, the Indians easily monitored his every move.

 

As they neared Fort Duquesne, the Indian ambush caught the British off balance. The young Virginian leader urged Braddock to disperse his troops and hide behind trees — as the Indians fought. Instead, Braddock stubbornly concentrated his men in tight platoons which were decimated as quickly as they were formed.

As Braddock tried vainly to rally his disorganized troops he was shot in the chest. Later, realizing he was mortally wounded, he gave his ceremonial sash to the Virginian officer whose advice he had ignored.

That young Virginian, George Washington, reportedly wore Braddock’s blood-stained sash for the rest of his career as commander of the Colonial Army. After becoming the first president of the United States, Washington continued to wear the sash.  He would never forget that the greatest enemy to victory is pride.

 

Just as pride blinded General Braddock to the strength of his adversary, so pride blinds us to the power of sin. This is not a battle we can win on our own.  It is not even a battle we must fight.

Jesus has conquered the Enemy. He rides a white horse with a robe dipped in blood. And only the notion that you don’t need his help can keep him from bringing you the victory you long for.

(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

 

How It Should End

Story of the Day for Monday July 2, 2012 

How It Should End

 

                   Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, do you now want to reach your goal through human effort? 

                                                                   Galatians 3:3

Why is it that, whenever we try to be more religious than other people, we end up becoming worse?

The Puritans felt the Reformation didn’t go far enough. Seeking greater purity, some separatist groups removed themselves from other Christians.

Alice Morse Earle, who liked rummaging through old documents, discovered some juicy news from these groups. John Lewis and Sarah Chapman, she found, were accused and tried for sitting together under an apple tree on the Lord’s Day. A soldier from Dunstable was fined forty shillings for wetting a piece of an old hat and stuffing it in his shoe on the Sabbath. In 1656, Captain Kemble from Boston was put in the public stocks for his “lewd and unseemly behavior” of kissing his wife at the doorstep of his house. (This was the first time Kemble had seen his wife since a three year voyage).

 

Why have so many people done things in the name of Jesus that Jesus himself would deplore? Could it be that, whenever we seek to become superior to others, we’re moving in the wrong direction? The prime virtue of a Christian should be humility. When we discover we’re covered in muck — just like everyone else — we can honestly report the grim news to God, and know he’ll forgive us. Humility is what faith is about.

Seeking to be better than others, however, neglects humility in favor of pride, judgmentalism, false piety, self-righteousness, minimizing personal faults, fear of those on the “outside” (which breeds slander) and group conformity for fear of expulsion.

 

“Well, Bartholomew, I thank God we aren’t like the heathen.” (pride)

“Me, too.” (conformity based on fear of expulsion from the group)

“The heathen probably lurk in dark alleys and torture cats.” (fear of those outside the group, which leads to slander)

“Yup.” (conformity based on fear of expulsion from the group)

“But, praise God, on the Judgment Day, the Most High will reward us for the fruit of our labors.” (self-righteousness)

“Yup.” (conformity based on fear of expulsion from the group)

“Hey, are you eating that without praying first?” (judgmentalism)

“It’s, ah . . . it’s just a stalk of celery.” (minimizing personal faults)

“So? I thank the Almighty for every morsel that touches my lips.” (false piety)

“I thanked the Lord, but I said it in my head.” (lying to cover own sins)

“You should’ve at least bowed your head in reverence.” (false piety)

“I’m going to do that from now on.” (conformity based on fear of expulsion from the group)

 

We begin the new life by relying on the grace of Jesus, and that’s how it should end.

(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

Rumba and the Bird Brain

Story of the Day for Tuesday March 13, 2012

Rumba and the Bird Brain

                 You will be driven away from people and will live with the beasts of the field, and will eat grass like cattle. 

                                                                 Daniel 4:32

Our friend, Val, is an animal lover, and is always taking in abused pets. Beside her ponies, donkey, and a blind horse, she has a herd of happy dogs, two parrots, and a cockatoo, named Rumba.

Rumba is a mischievous bird. If she hears me walking in the hallway, she calls out, “Hey you! . . . What’s your name?”  Before I know it, I’m standing in front of her cage and having a conversation with a birdbrain. (Or is it the other way ‘round?)

Cockatoos have an uncanny sense of rhythm, and, while I’m quite self-conscious about dancing, pretty soon she’s bobbing her head, and then I’m bobbing my head, and one thing leads to another . . .

Soon, we’re both swaying and jiving, and I’m yelling, “Oh yeah!” and “Whoo, baby!” As long as no one’s watching, dancing with a cockatoo is a hoot.

But, if you’re self-conscious about dancing, you should always shut the door first. It wasn’t until we were on our way home that my wife told me that she and Val heard the commotion and watched me strutting my stuff.

Oh great — so much for maintaining the reserved dignity with which I like to carry myself.

 

Dignity is a good thing and I commend it for your consideration. But it also carries its hazards. When we assume a dignified pose, it is very difficult to avoid the notion that we are, in some way, superior to others. Honor is a breeding swamp for pride.

 

King Nebuchadnezzar was a powerful king, and there’s no shame in that, because someone’s got to do it. But his exalted status led him to become enamored with his own importance, so God turned him into a cow.  No one laughs at cows for grazing in a field because cows have no sense of self-importance. But when a king gets down on his hands and knees and eats like a cow, it can go a long way in correcting an overinflated ego.

 

Vince Lombardi was at his football office when his wife called to tell him she had invited two Catholic priests to dinner.

In order to have an undisturbed conversation after dinner, the Lombardis put their four-year-old daughter, Susan, to bed.

As the four chatted after dinner with coffee and brandy, little Susan marched into the room – her nightgown sopping wet from her armpits down. She walked up to the two Reverend Fathers, pointed her finger under one nose and then under the nose of the other Father and said, “Either you or you left the seat up, and I fell in!”

 

The loftier our pose, the more humbling it will be in the cattle field.

(copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

The Greater Accomplishment

Story of the Day for Thursday August 4, 2011

The Greater Accomplishment

                     How you have fallen from the sky, O morning star, the son of the dawn!  You, who once brought down other nations, have been thrown down to the earth. 

                                                                                 Isaiah 14:12

Ellis played fiddle for barn dances and found his horse stolen afterward. He did such a brilliant job of discovering the thief that he was asked to find other people’s stolen horses. Ellis Parker’s skill was so uncanny that, in 1892, he became the Chief of Detectives for Burlington County, New Jersey – despite being only twenty-one and lacking a high school education.

Without access to modern forensic technology, Parker relied on his wits. And he could notice incongruities and odd details like no one else. Soon, he became known as a real-life Sherlock Holmes.

In his forty year career, Parker took on 236 murder cases, and solved all but ten of them. Ellis boasted that he never used an ounce of force on any suspect, yet, in over half of his cases, he talked the guilty party into signing a confession of guilt before the trial.

 

During World War I, federal agents had been unable to find a wireless station that would interfere with public broadcasts. The Department of Justice hired Parker, who not only deduced that the wireless was operated from a car running up and down the coast, but actually located the car itself.

 

Yet, none of his fame went to his head. He turned down many high-profile cases and better paying positions to stay in his sleepy town of Mt. Holly – where everyone called him by his first name. Instead of cashing in on his fame, he allowed writers free access to his files.

 

But, late in his career, something changed in him. Charles Lindbergh’s toddler was kidnapped, and it immediately became known as The Crime of the Century. The detective who solved this case would be world famous and covered in glory. Yet, even though the kidnapping took place only miles from Parker’s hometown, no one invited him to help solve the crime.

Something seemed to snap. Ellis Parker became obsessed with the Lindbergh baby kidnapping, and, even though he had no access to police records, tried to find the killer based on details reported in the newspaper.

Convinced the police had arrested the wrong suspect, Parker became a criminal himself. He had another suspect kidnapped in order to extort a confession.

Ellis Parker Sr., who will always be known as America’s greatest detective, was tried and convicted for kidnapping. He died in federal prison.

 

The admiration of others is fine . . . until we crave it. We so easily dream of great achievement and fame, but the greater accomplishment is maintaining a humble heart.

                                          (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

Being the “Rightest”

Story of the Day for Tuesday June 21, 2011

Being the “Rightest”

 

                    You rescue the humble, but your eyes are on the haughty to bring them low.  

                                                                       2 Samuel 22:28

After God has delivered his opinion on haughtiness, it is amazing how many of his followers vie with each other to be the haughtiest.

Christians have split up into countless denominations and every one of them believes the same thing: we’re righter than anyone else about doctrine, and we feel pretty smug about it. When was the last time you heard a denomination admit: “We want to follow Jesus, but, frankly, we’re not sure our doctrine is perfect”?

Don’t get me wrong: it’s important to be right about stuff. But it’s even more important to be humble. None of us knows God so well that we have eliminated all the fuzziness in our understanding of him.

Yet, how often do we admit that we’ve bumped up against Bible passages that don’t want to agree with our present understanding? We Christians – and especially we Bible teachers – are not eager to talk about the many passages in Scripture that still have us puzzled.

 

In September of 1864, London’s Soho district was ravaged by a cholera epidemic. 143 residents in the Broad Street area died within a single day.

Dr. John Snow believed the cholera outbreak was caused by contaminated water from the public Broad Street pump. But everyone else – including the Medical Committee and a local curate, Rev. Henry Whitehead, believed Snow was wrong.

Dr. Snow wrote up his observations, On the Mode of Communication of Cholera, but Whitehead and the Medical Committee overseeing the epidemic disagreed with his conclusions. In opposition to Dr. Snow, Whitehead wrote an opposing account, The Cholera in Berwick Street.

In an effort to prove Snow wrong, Rev. Whitehead began a personal investigation. He went door to door – asking residents about sanitation and their use of the Broad Street water pump.

When he finished his investigation he realized his data supported Dr. Snow’s position. Whitehead did what few have the humility to do: he publicly renounced his former position and urged the Medical Committee to listen to Snow.

 

We now know that Snow’s view about cholera has been validated. But for a decade after Snow presented his evidence, the medical community continued to call his position unsound. Whitehead, alone, was humble enough to admit that his original opposition to Snow had been wrong.

 

If you want to feel superior to others, don’t gloat that you’re the “rightest”; strive to be the humblest. Then you can take pride in being . . . hey, wait a minute – I think I just goofed up somewhere.

                                                             (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)

Even A Bug Can Teach

Story of the Day for Thursday June 2, 2011

Even A Bug Can Teach

 

                 When pride comes, disgrace with follow. With humility comes wisdom.

                                                                      Proverbs 11:2

 

 

The 19th century was the golden age of British conquest. The sun never set on the British Empire, and the cultured English bathed in their glory.

Having conquered and colonized vast uncivilized cultures of the world, in the spring of 1845, they set out to conquer Nature.

Sir John Franklin led the best-funded expedition in history to find the fabled Northwest Passage to the Orient. Two 350-ton vessels were equipped with steel reinforced hulls, a 1000 book library, and heated cabins.

Confident of their invincibility, they defied the arctic seas . . . and lost.  The massive ice flows slammed into their ships and wedged them fast.  For two years they waited for the ice to release its grip, but the ice refused to budge, and all of Franklin’s men perished.

 

Oddly enough, Franklin’s men met the native Inuit of the area. A decade later, Francis Hall spent time with the Inuit, who told him of their encounters with Franklin’s crew. The Inuit gave seal to the starving men, but the British sailors never asked for help in survival. Though the Inuit could travel long distances on their dog sleds, they never asked for help in sending out a rescue party.

The Victorians of this age were intent upon asserting their superiority over all other cultures. They saw the arctic natives as ignorant savages, and refused to swallow their dignity by begging them for assistance.

 

Years later, twenty-eight-year old Roald Amundsen, slipped out of the harbor at Oslo with six others in a small, second-hand fishing boat. They sailed until the arctic winter set in and found themselves in the same vicinity as Franklin’s stranded expedition.

But Amundsen sought out the Inuit. He befriended them and learned their secrets of survival in the arctic. They taught him how to hunt seals and build igloos. He was amazed to find their reindeer clothing far better than his own. He lived on their diet.

When he borrowed their sled dogs for an exploratory trip, he bogged down and had to dump half his supplies to make it back to the Inuit village. They were amused, but showed him how to reduce the friction of the sled runners.

 

When the spring ice thawed and allowed the Norwegians to continue their journey, Amundsen dismayed the crew by refusing to sail. He claimed they still hadn’t learned enough from the Inuit in how to survive in the Arctic.

Amundsen would not only sail on to discover the Northwest Passage, but would later outrace the British to plant the first flag on the South Pole.

 

God tells us in the Bible to observe the behavior of ants and learn from them. Even a bug can teach us spiritual truth, but only the humble have the ears to listen.

                                                                  (copyright by climbinghigher.org and by Marty Kaarre)