Toilets and Stamps! (07.19.05--Pride--Nehemiah 3:5)
The goal was now in sight! What I had worked so hard for, was suddenly staring me in the face and it was so great to have achieved what I had worked so hard for. Potential realized, the prize won, perhaps now, I could let up a bit.
I had been trying for weeks to get a feature printed in a local newspaper; one that highlighted the work that I was doing with a local non-profit program. Having carefully written the story and making sure that the proper photos were provided for, the wait was on. Would the local newspaper print the story? Would they even print it with the photo?
When I opened the weekly paper the following Wednesday and found the story and the picture on page two, I was, needless to say, delighted. You might even say I felt a little puffed, as a feeling of self-satisfaction quickly coursed through me. The work had paid off. There was the story, every word I had written, and the picture looked great. I went to the office that day feeling pretty good about the whole thing. The hard work, the perseverance had paid off. My confidence had been stroked and it felt pretty good. Unlocking the office door and turning on the lights, I walked over to my little office and put the paper down on my desk right next to a sticky note that read, “Don’t forget! Pick up stamps today. Office toilet needs to be cleaned.” My soaring spirit landed with a thud.
Golf immortal Arnold Palmer recalls a lesson about over-confidence:
“It was the final hole of the 1961 Masters tournament, and I had a one-stroke lead and had just hit a very satisfying tee shot. I felt I was in pretty good shape. As I approached my ball, I saw an old friend standing at the edge of the gallery. He motioned me over, stuck out his hand and said, ‘Congratulations.’ I took his hand and shook it, but as soon as I did, I knew I had lost my focus. On my next two shots, I hit the ball into a sand trap, then put it over the edge of the green. I missed a putt and lost the Masters. You don’t forget a mistake like that; you just learn from it and become determined that you will never do that again. I haven’t in the 30 years since.” (Carol Mann, The 19th Hold, Longmeadow.)
No one is too good, talented or successful to deny that honest good work is what brings success; not what we’ve achieved but what we are doing at the moment makes all the difference. Humble task or not, it really doesn’t matter. The Bible tells us that no one is too good for hard work. When the God calls us to get our fingers dirty, there’s no time for resting on our laurels. Sometimes toilets and stamps are as important as nice pictures and stories in the paper.
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matt 6:34)
If you have a special prayer request, please send your request to “This Passing Day!”,
This Passing Day!
Related Sermon Illustrations
Contributed by Tim Richards on Sep 15, 2004
A man noticed a lady in the grocery store with her year-old in her cart. The child asked for cookies. Her mother said no. The little girl began to cry loudly. The mother patiently said, "Now Missy, we’re half way done, it won’t be long." The same thing happened in the candy aisle. This time the ...read more
Contributed by Peter Chan on Feb 11, 2005
Faith Involves Resting Securely on God’s Revelation –Entering the Ark. Noah’s faith in become a verb is completed with his entrance into the Ark with his family. It inspires me to learn that Noah was so confident about God’s promise and power that he went into the Ark with his family. It is one ...read more
Contributed by Mike Wilkins on Aug 4, 2005
In Donald Miller’s book “Blue Like Jazz,” he has a chapter called “Love: How to Really Love Other People” He was at a lecture by Greg Spencer that talked about the metaphors that we use around (amongst other things) relationships. We talk about how we value people, invest in people, how we say ...read more
Contributed by Paul Decker on May 19, 2004
Jeremy Bassett’s 5-year-old niece, Olivia, and her best friend, Claire, were participating in a nativity play at school. Claire was playing Mary, and Olivia was an angel. Before the show, a young boy was going around the dressing room repeating, "I’m a sheep, what are you?" Each child responded ...read more
Contributed by John Sears on Feb 4, 2014
Mutual accountability is important to the life and health of the individual and to the life and health of the church. How do we handle the difficult task of mutual accountability? And how can it help us grow as followers of Jesus?
Contributed by Bishop Dr. Julius Soyinka on Feb 22, 2016
We need to understand carefully what the Bible has to say about this matter and do whatever we need to do to see that these obstacles of revival do not hinder us from getting what we need from the Lord.
Contributed by Dennis Davidson on Mar 30, 2014
God¡¯s hand, if submitted to, will humble us so that God can do His great work in our life. God works in & on our life to transform us into Christ-likeness. This great work is of grace. God grants the grace necessary for spiritual growth to the humble