My friend, Mister P.

“I have a little shadow who goes in and out with me/And what can be the use of him is more than I can see.”

I used to love that poem as a child. Now when I read it I think of another sidekick who is never far from me. I’ve nicknamed him Mister P. — “P” as in “Pride.” I don’t know about you, but for me Pride is more or less my constant companion. And on those rare occasions when my pride is in check and I’m feeling particularly humble, well, all the more reason to feel proud, right?

If you’re a fundraiser (or a close cousin, a sales rep), I hate to suggest it but I suspect you, too, may be susceptible to pride, especially when things are going well. We flawed humans have, I think, a natural tendency to want to bask in the reflected glow of other people’s achievements — so when we have a good week or a good month or a good year, we might tend to get just a little bit puffed up and start believing we’re all that. But this fundraising business is seldom a one-person show. Chances are you’re part of a team, and your teammates likely deserve a great deal of the credit for your success. So do the front-line workers in your organization — without them, you’d have no stories to tell. And behind it all, it was the Lord who gave you the professional skill to do the work in the first place. Celebrate the gifts, but don’t overlook the Giver.

Both James and Peter quote Proverbs 11:31 — “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Why does God feel so strongly about Pride? Because it’s at the root of all sin and disbelief. Pride says to God, “I don’t really need You — I can make it on my own.” Every time I find myself saying that, even subconsciously…well, it just never turns out well.

We can talk more about pride later. So Mister P. is a friend of yours, too, huh? Sorry to hear that.


2 thoughts on “My friend, Mister P.”

  1. I am the very best person at being humble ever… oh wait… I so agree. I’ve even considered changing my first name to pride to simplify matters.

    One challenge that I face is the difference between taking joy is good work/reveling a job well done and arrogance/boasting.

  2. A pastor friend of mine told me how he handles the compliments he gets when he preaches. Instead of responding with false humility (“Oh, really, it was nothing!”) or hollow piousness (“It wasn’t me, it was the Lord!”), he simply says “Thank you! That is so encouraging!” You’re right about that tension, Jason — and I think it pleases God when we take quiet satisfaction in using the gifts He’s given us.

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