As you might've noticed from these readings, I’m a huge fan of C. S. Lewis. I’ve read just about everything he’s ever written, and his work has influenced my thinking and writing to a great degree. And of course one of my favorites is one of his most famous: Mere Christianity. If you haven’t read it, you’ve severely deprived yourself. He has a chapter on pride and humility which is a must-read for every Christian.
It’s there that he makes a really important point regarding the vice and its opposite virtue. Is it wrong to take note of admirable qualities which you have? If I’m really smart or skilled or talented in a certain area, is it wrong to notice that? Or do I need to pretend as if I’m not?
Paul apparently didn’t think so. He told us “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.” Examine yourself with sober judgment. Take an honest inventory of where you are and what you have.
But today’s passage puts everything we have and are in proper perspective. If you’re the richest person in the world, and if you’re the best in the world at making money, then there’s no shame in that. He's given you certain gifts and abilities and privileges which he hasn’t given others, and you’ve taken advantage of that.
Let’s say you’re the strongest man on earth. I’ve seen videos of a man who’s pulled a train with his teeth. I’ve seen other videos of weight lifters who can lift several times their mass over their head. I’m sure they could grab me and break me in half like a match stick.
Or imagine that you’re the wisest person on earth, or even in history. Kings and presidents and other leaders come from faraway lands just to hear your advice. Your recorded sayings are considered to be national treasures.
You know, the track record on people with these gifts--as regarding personal happiness—is not that great. The strongest man in recorded history, by name of Samson, ended up pretty much a failure and committed suicide. The wisest man on earth—who really did have national leaders come to him and beg to hear his counsel—ended up writing the most depressing book of the Bible (Ecclesiastes). And of course the stories about rich men who found no peace in their lives are well-known.
All these men could boast about great accomplishments in their lives, but for the most part they missed the most important thing in life. They poured their lives into things which are here today and gone tomorrow.
Instead, they could've poured their lives into understanding and knowing the most important Person in the universe. And the really astonishing thing is that this Person is utterly knowable by anyone in the world. Low IQ? Not a problem! Don’t have two dimes in your pocket to rub together? No worries! Completely failing in your strength? Not only is that not a problem, it probably qualifies you better than someone who’s stronger, faster, or more popular.
He is the Lord. He exercises kindness, justice, and righteousness on earth. And he smiles on people who do the same. That’s who he is, and that’s what he’s looking for.
So what’s your boast?
Father God, that’s all I care about, or at least what I’m supposed to care about. I know you, and I want to know you more. Please.
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