Robert Jefress, in his book entitled “Choose Your Attitudes Change Your Life” tells us the story of a humbling visit to a restaurant involving senator and presidential candidate Bill Bradley of New Jersey. The waiter brought over the rolls but no butter. “May I have some butter, please?” Senator Bradley asked. The waiter gave a slight nod and wandered off, but 10 minutes later, no butter. Bradley caught the waiter’s eye. “May I please have some butter?” The waiter barely acknowledged the request. After 10 more minutes, still no butter. “Maybe you don’t know who I am,” said Bradley. “I’m a Princeton graduate, a Rhodes scholar, and an all-American basketball player who played with the New York Knicks in the pros. I’m currently a United States senator from New Jersey, chairman of the international debt sub-committee of the senate finance committee, chairman of the water and power subcommittee of the state energy and natural resources committee, and a member of the select intelligence committee.”
“Maybe you don’t know who I am,” said the waiter. “I’m the guy who’s on charge of the butter.”
What after that isn’t known but occasionally we all need to have someone burst our balloon of self-importance and bring us back to reality. The waiter in the story is arrogant and lousy as far as service and work performance is concerned I can assure you that but the lesson learned here is that pride sometimes maybe the very thing that brings us embarrassment; as did the senator from new jersey.
I had my own bubble burst a couple of times before. And surely these experiences are painful and embarrassing but truth to tell, such experiences are healthy because they help us maintain a proper perspective about our accomplishments. Pride is an attitude that causes us to credit ourselves for our accomplishments and to blame others for our failures. On the other hand, humility is an attitude that views both our accomplishments and our seemingly failures from God’s perspectives.Life is simply a product of the choices we make and in this part of our continuing study entitled, “the life choices series,” we will look into the better alternative of choosing humility over pride.
According to life magazine, Muhammad Ali spoke of himself before his fight with Joe Frazier. These are the words he said: “There seems to be some confusion. We’re going to clear this confusion up on March 8. We’re going to decide once and for all who is king! There’s not a man alive who can beat me. (At this point, he jabs the air half a dozen blinding left). I’m too smart (then he taps his head.) I’m too pretty, (he lifts his head high in profile, running as a bust on a pedestal) I am the greatest. I am the king! I should be a postage stamp because that’s the only way I could get licked.” And oh yes, by the way, Ali lost to Frazier! Fact of the matter is that Muhammad Ali is probably one of the greatest boxers the sport has ever produced but he serves as a good lesson for all of us to remember. At the peak of his career, kids copied his antics, adults admired him and Ali adorned all the covers of the world’s most prestigious magazines. The media loved him. Many adored him and there was an air of invincibility about him especially after his successive victories in the ring. But a few years later, the once invincible Ali became saddled with mounting financial difficulties and had Parkinson’s disease. To me he will still remain as the greatest heavy weight champion boxer of the world but to me he also reminds me that no man is immortal, not even Ali.
Time is on God’s side. We need to learn how to number our days so that we may gain a heart of wisdom. You and I cannot live beyond the appointed number of heartbeats and this is why choosing to live with humility under the healthy fear of God would be wise.