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Succeeding With Humility

“In the same way, you who are younger must accept the authority of the elders. And all of you, dress yourselves in humility as you relate to one another, for ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’”1

Robert Roberts writes about a fourth-grade class in which the teacher introduced a game called "balloon stomp." A balloon was tied to every child's leg, and the object of the game was to pop everyone else's balloon while protecting one's own. The last person with an intact balloon would win.

The fourth graders in Roberts' story entered into the spirit of the game with vigor. Balloons were relentlessly targeted and destroyed. A few of the children clung to the sidelines like wallflowers at a middle school dance, but their balloons were doomed just the same. The entire battle was over in a matter of seconds, leaving only one balloon inflated. Its owner was, of course, the most disliked kid in the class. It's hard to really win at a game like balloon stomp. In order to complete your mission, you have to be pushy, rude, and offensive.

Roberts goes on to write that a second class was introduced to the same game. Only this time it was a class of children with special needs. They were given the same explanation as the first class, and the signal to begin was given. But the game proceeded very differently. The children may have understood the instructions a little differently, but one idea that got through was that the balloons were supposed to be popped. So, it was the balloons, not the other players, that were viewed as enemies. Instead of fighting each other, they began helping each other pop balloons. One little girl knelt down and held her balloon carefully in place, like a holder for a field goal kicker. A little boy stomped it flat. Then he knelt down and held his balloon for her. It went on like this for several minutes until all the balloons were vanquished, and everybody cheered. Everybody won.2

Who got the game right, and who got the game wrong? In our world, including some church environments, we tend to think of another person's success as one less opportunity for us to succeed. There can only be one top dog, one top banana. If we ever find ourselves in that desired position, we fight to maintain our hold on it. Many fail to enjoy prolonged success because the people in charge have this "balloon stomp" mentality. With Christians, however, the rules should change. Jesus Christ takes the highest position. Our mission is to serve him and serve others. Always looking for the wellbeing of others, more than our own. In order to succeed in our faith journey and lives in general, we must learn to celebrate shared success with humility and work for each other, instead of against each other.

Suggested prayer: Dear God, keep me from falling into the harmful mentality of thinking of myself more than others. Thank you for the privilege of being able to serve you, while I serve others. Remove all pride from my heart and give me humility and grace. Thank you for hearing and answering my prayer. In Jesus’ name, amen.

  1. 1 Peter 5:5 (NLT).


All articles on this website are written by
Richard (Dick) Innes unless otherwise stated.