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Pride is So Subtle

On Saturday it was my goal to stay home all day, but just after lunch I had to run down to the corner nursery to pick up my fertilizer. I was on my way back when I noticed something very strange. At the gas station across the street, there was a car that was pointed at a 45-degree angle downward with its back wheels in the air. The driver had tried to jump a curb not realizing there was an 18-inch drop-off between the gas station parking lot and the lot next door. His car was perched on the curb and he was in deep trouble. My first thought, which I said aloud, “Oh my. Sucks to be you.”

I watched for a few minutes as two guys circled the car considering their options. I was going to drive on home but needed gas anyway, so I pulled over to a pump where I could lurk from behind my car.

The two guys circling the car were punks. They had body piercings everywhere, tattoos all over. I’d guess them to be about 20-years old. I’m just staring, amazed, wondering what these idiots were thinking when they tried to jump the curb.

Then I noticed the car model. It was a newer model, luxury car. It was easily a $50k car. Then I got even more disgusted. These punks are driving around in daddy’s car and just messed it up. I even said it to the guy pumping gas next to me who just returned from walking over closer to the crisis: “A couple punks messed up daddy’s car, huh?”

That’s when I started realizing how wrong I was. He replied, “Nope. There are three little kids still in the car and their dad was driving.” I looked past the “punks” and saw a young Hispanic man and his wife, very shook-up, trying to figure out what to do.

These young white “punks” had stopped their car to help the Hispanic man in distress. I’m ashamed to say that stopping to help had never crossed my mind. It was my day-off. I was working in my yard. I was busy. Plus I was consumed by my judgmental thoughts toward the jerks who got themselves in that position. Besides, what could I do? They needed major help. Like a crane or a tow truck.

As I finished pumping, one of the “punks” called out at me. “Hey, can you give us a hand?” They had analyzed the situation and figured with 4 or 5 men they could lift the car off the curb and get this guy on his way. I would never have attempted that or even thought it was possible. But within about 10 minutes, 4 of us (through the very capable leadership of the “punks”) got the Hispanic family on their way. The driver quickly grabbed his wallet and offered to pay the “punks” but they waved him off, got back in their car, and drove away. They didn’t want money or recognition. They were just there to help.

I got back in my car, not feeling good about helping the helpless-but feeling guilty for my quick judgmentalism. I wasn’t happy I could help-I was aware that I would have just watched from behind my car if the “punk” hadn’t called out.

Pride is so subtle. It twists its way through our hearts and makes us less than Jesus-like. I’m just glad that I got to witness Jesus this weekend through the actions of a couple punks.

Proverbs 29:23– “A man’s pride brings him low, but a man of lowly spirit gains honor.”

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Tim Stevens served as the executive pastor of Granger Community Church in Granger, IN, for twenty years before joining Vanderbloemen Search Group as the Director of the Executive Search Consultant Team where he helps churches and ministries around the world find their key staff. Tim has a passion for the local church and equipping leaders with practical advice and tools about church staffing and church leadership. He has co-authored three books with Tony Morgan, including Simply Strategic Stuff, Simply Strategic Volunteers, and Simply Strategic Growth, and authored three books of his own, including Fairness Is Overrated: And 51 Other Leadership Principles To Revolutionize Your Workplace. Connect with Tim at LeadingSmart.com.