Monday, July 2, 2012

Reflections on Pride and Failure (Proverbs 16:18) with a story from Arnold Palmer's 1961 Masters tournament last round.

SCRIPTURE: Proverbs 16:18 (NIV)
Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.

STORY as shared by Carol Mann:
Golf immortal Arnold Palmer recalls a lesson about overconfidence: “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.”
The Message has part of the Proverb verse stating: the bigger the ego, the harder the fall.” Well, neither you nor I have ever been placed in the same situation as Arnold Palmer, but it smaller ways and situations we have faced our “Master tournament” challenges, lost our focus and failed.

Pride, simply put, is losing ones focus. If we take our eyes off the purpose before us and think of ourselves we will fail. It is easy to do. We can begin to think about the personal cost, the financial burden, the demands on energy or time, or begin to think about what a great job we are doing … losing our focus … and we will find ourselves on the trash heap of “could have beens”.

God invites us into his Kingdom work so that we can accomplish great things. But remember this one thing … to expect great things one must attempt great things AND to attempt great things will require a great focus – a focus on the one who makes all things great.

Lift our eyes and our thinking off of ourselves and our lives and on to Kingdom work … and may you get all the credit!

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