Philippians 2:5, 7–8
Deflating inflated egos is so important to God that he offers to help.
He helped me. I recently spent a week on a book tour. We saw long lines and crowded stores. One person after another complimented me. For three days I bathed in the river of praise. I began to believe the accolades. All these people can’t be wrong. I must be God’s gift to readers. My chest puffed so much I could hardly see where to autograph the books. Why, had I been born two thousand years earlier, we might read the gospels of Matthew, Max, Luke, and John. About the time I wondered if the Bible needed another epistle, God shot an arrow of humility in my direction.
We were running late for an evening book signing, late because the afternoon signing had seen such long lines. We expected the same at the next store. Concerned, we phoned ahead. “We are running behind. Tell all the people we’ll arrive soon.”
“No need to hurry,” the store manager assured.
“What about the people?”
“Neither one seems to be in a hurry.”
By the time we reached the store, thankfully, the crowd of two people had tripled to six. We had scheduled two hours for the signing; I needed ten minutes.
Self-conscious about sitting alone at the table, I peppered the last person with questions. We talked about her parents, school, Social Security number, favorite birthday party. Against my pleadings, she had to go. So I sat alone at the table. Big stack of Lucado books, no one in line.
“We did. More than usual.” She walked off.
The next time she passed I asked, “Had other signings?”
“Yes, usually we have a great response,” and kept going.
I signed all the books at my table. I signed all the Lucado books on the shelves. I signed Tom Clancy and John Grisham books. Finally a customer came to the table. “You write books?” he asked, picking up the new one.
“I do. Want me to sign it?”
“No thanks,” he answered and left.
God hit his target. Lest I forget, my daily reading the next morning had this passage: “Do not be wise in your own eyes” (Prov. 3:7).
When you’re full of yourself, God can’t fill you.But when you empty yourself, God has a useful vessel.