I was in the check out line at Walgreens. I needed some face wash and lotion and of course, let’s go for the age defying version. The lady in front of me was finishing her transaction and getting ready to walk away, so I sat my items on the counter and started to grab my wallet. “Glad I don’t need that,” the lady said to me with a chuckle. She gathered her bags and walked out of the store. One question: how do you respond to that? Why do these people show up at my party?
Pride. I have too much of it. God is working on that, but I don’t always appreciate His lessons. Last weekend I was so honored and blessed to be with the Tennessee Baptist Convention’s WMU ladies for the annual Prayer Retreat. It is always a pleasure to lead breakout sessions for them, and I shout for joy each time they ask. I just love speaking to and visiting with sisters in the Lord.
My topic was pride. I am an expert on that subject. When I prayed about what verses to share as a basis for my sessions on pride, God lead me to Acts 4 & 5–the story of Ananias and Sapphira. On my way to Memphis, I drove through the KFC drive through. As I was easing through line, God lead me to those verses, so never get a visual of me sitting on a porch early in the morning, with a Bible and coffee and a cool morning breeze blowing as God speaks to me. He does do that, especially during the summer months, but when school is in session, He speaks where He can catch me and that has been lots of places including carpool lines, soccer practices, and teacher inservice (I have lots of time then). This fact alone should work on my pride.
I encourage you to read the entire story of Ananias and Sapphira. Some things become very clear. We are just like them. God was doing a great work in the church at that time, and Satan was working a plan. A man named Joseph sold land and gave the money to the church. Ananias and Sapphira did the same, but they kept back part of the money for themselves. Peter confronted them about this, and both fell dead.
“Well, that’s awful, but they got what they deserved,” we might say. We would never do anything like that, right? What were their motives? It looks as if they wanted to be seen as generous, maybe getting the same respect and attention that they saw Joseph get after his generous gift. We would never give a gift to the church and call attention to it. We would never want to be noticed or thought of as “spiritual” among our church family. Oh, wow. Pride.
They loved money more than they did God. Again, that’s not us. We would never keep back money that belongs to God by not giving our tithe. We would never keep back money that we feel God leading us to give to someone going on a mission trip or to a special offering at church. It happens so easily. A need is presented at church, and we think, “Yes, of course, I will give $25.00 but not right now.” We go home, let that idea sit awhile, and decide, “Someone else will give, so it’s o.k. Maybe I will give next time.” We love money more than God.
We say we want to follow Christ, but in small ways, we follow self. We love attention, we love money and all of that is pride. When we depend on ourselves, don’t trust God with everything, or think in some small way we can handle our problems, that’s pride. God doesn’t need our money or our help. We need Him desperately.
So, the next time you are in the drugstore check out line, beware. If the person beside you starts surveying what you are purchasing, be ready. Sometimes the enemy looks like the average person. Just smile and remember that our pride does need a check up from time to time. Accept it, and remember who you are in Christ. That’s all that matters.