Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Balancing the Checkbook...

When I was a kid, my dad used to say...well, my dad used to say a lot of stuff actually...but he used to say, "Boy, don't let your mouth write a check your tail can't cash." (I might have cleaned that up a little, I don't know). It would usually happen on the basketball court, or during a wrestling match, or maybe even as I became a teenager. But what he was saying, without saying it was, that I should be very careful about making boasts, and allowing my ego or my pride to make threats that I wasn't big enough, or man enough, to carry out. Honestly though, for a 13 or 14 year old boy that was just nonsense, because there wasn't anything I couldn't do if I wanted to, right?

You see, ego is an ugly thing. Yesterday a friend of mine reminded me that pride is just as ugly. But both of those can cause us, at times, to say or do things that under normal circumstances, we might not say or do. It's been going on since the first teenage boys came on the scene, and we know how that turned out. It happened in the Old Testement. It happened in the New Testament. It happened to me growing up. And now, the fun part is that I get to say that to the kids coming up now. Ahh, the circle of life...

There is one story in scripture where this plays out. It's in Judges 9 and it's one of those stories that doesn't make the top 25 for our kids in Sunday school, so you may have never heard it before. Abimelech has set himself up as ruler of Shechem, and to guarantee no competition, he had all 70 of his brothers murdered. Yeah, real nice guy. Anyhow, this other guy comes into town...other guy, name of Gaal (Sorry about the Slingblade reference). Gaal began to imbibe one day and allowed his mouth to start writing checks that evidently his tail couldn't cash.

Funny how that happens sometimes. We get so caught up in ourselves, add a little fruit of the vine, and the next thing you know, we are standing outside the city gates watching an army coming at us from every direction, and just catching a glimpse of them following as we turn tail and run. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm sure the wine intensified the situation, but my guess is that Gaal was feeling a little invincible anyhow. So, I'm not turning this into an anti-glass-of-wine deal. Personally, I don't see a problem with a glass of wine with dinner...unless that glass of wine makes you boastful and arrogant, like it did Gaal.

Long story short, Gaal was shown that, indeed, his tail was not big enough to cash the checks his mouth had been writing. Abimelech got his too, though. After raiding the city of Shechem and routing all of the inhabitants into a strong tower, a woman in the tower dropped a millstone on his head and cracked his skull. Instead of letting it be said that a woman killed him, he ordered his servant to take his sword and run him through. Guys and their egos, just saying.

Why are we like that? Not just guys, but all of us. That whole macho thing usually makes it more evident in guys, but why do we let our egos get the best of us sometimes? Just think about all the trouble it has caused throughout the ages. War? Most of the time caused by someone's ego. Bad politics? Ego. Oppression? Ego. And even in the church, 98% of my problems over the past 11 years have been the result of someone's overinflated ego. I would like to think that church would be the last place you'd find ego, but that's just not always the case. Do you see the patterns?

Ok, I admit, I don't have the answers. These are just some of the questions I woke up with this morning. Maybe I'll start a research program and write a book, who knows.


1 comment:

  1. A liquored mouth never said anything a sober mind didn't already think.