Wednesday, April 20, 2011
I remember growing up wanting to be the best high school coach in Colorado. When people would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up I would verbalized my desire. I had those thoughts constantly of wanting to be the best at coaching. I wanted to be successful, but not just successful. I wanted to be the best. During those early years, I had no thoughts on being a coach in college or in the pros, but high school was where it was at for me. I started coaching right after I was too old to play little league baseball. It was a passion of mine. Now all of this seems good and healthy, but underneath all this desire was a passion for being recognized. Over the years, I continued to get recognized in part because none of the teams that I coached ever had a losing season and a few of them won championships in their respective leagues. The problem with having success is that it can lead to pride and self focus on what one has done, not recognizing the God who gave the tools and skills and drive to be successful.
This morning in my reading a similar King had a problem with success. King Uzziah became Judah’s king at the age of 16 and reigned 52 years. That is one of the longest reigning kings of either Judah or Israel. He was a good king, but he had a problem. Success caused Uzziah problems. In II Chronicles 26:5 it says that as long as Uzziah sought the Lord, God gave him success. In other words, when he wasn’t successful, he sought the Lord, but when success came, he began to internalize the successes as coming from his skills and talents and insights. In a passage later in this chapter it says that he was greatly helped until he became powerful (vs. 15). I think the most telling passage comes in verse 16 when it says, “But after Uzziah became powerful, his pride led to his downfall.”
It is so easy and tempting to internalize our successes and power as coming from our self. Our skills. Our talents. Our knowledge. The “I” and “My” are deadly in creating and cultivating pride in our lives. Solomon, the wisest men in all the world, says that pride goes before destruction and the fall (Prov. 16:18). In fact he speaks a lot about pride and how with pride comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.
On this journey be careful to recognize God as the source of all that you are and all that you have and all that you do.