Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Vanity and Conceit

Chuckle:  A lawyer and a doctor were at the gym.  The doctor complained that while he exercises, people always ask for advice. “What should I do?”  “Well,” said the lawyer, “when you give advice, send a bill.”  In a few days, the doctor got a bill from the lawyer.
Quote:  “He is truly great that is little in himself and that maketh no account of any height of honors.” –Thomas A Kempis
    “Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you”  (Romans 12:3 NIV).
Vanity is defined as “the quality of being vain or conceited about oneself; excessive pride in one's appearance, qualities, abilities, achievements, etc.”  It’s ironic that vanity also means a condition of no real value; worthless.
Many of the world’s problems can be traced to powerful people filled with vanity and conceit.  These include brutal dictators and other cruel despots.  I’m reminded of a saying that goes something like this: “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”  Such people sometimes see themselves as above the law or rules that apply to everyone else.  They see themselves as a cut above those over whom they have influence.
“But lasting good has always been wrought by those who answer to Thomas a Kempis’s description (our quote), and see themselves infinitely small – as a man feels when he stands alone in darkness, looking up to the starry skies.” –Eric Johnston
 Those who are infatuated with their perceived importance and power often prey on the powerless.  Such an attitude should never be found in a Christian regardless of his or her position of leadership.  Our passage warns Christians not to think too highly of themselves, but to evaluate ourselves based on the degree of faith God has given us. 
The minds of wise Christians have been transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit who reeducates, renews, and redirects their hearts and minds.  Great people are loving, humble, compassionate, and quietly wise, no matter what great deeds they perform or the high honors they receive.  Jesus said to His disciples, “. . . whoever wants to be great among you must be your servant”  (Matthew 20:26 NIV).
“An old fable of Aesop tells of the fox and the crow. A crow once stole a piece of meat. The fox, who wanted the meat, began to compliment the crow. First he complimented the beauty of her black feathers. Then he complimented the beauty of her form. Finally he complimented her singing voice and asked to hear her sing. The crow was so overcome by the praise that she opened her mouth to sing and dropped the meat, which the fox promptly picked up and ate. Our experience tells us that such vanity is not reserved for crows.”
Love, Jerry & Dotse           


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