Symphony or One-Man Band?

oscar-mayer-weinermobile-04After watching all of the hot-dogging during professional football this past weekend, I’ve come to the conclusion that the NFL needs to sign a licensing agreement with Oscar Mayer.  These ego-stroking narcissistic acts and taunting tantrums are ridiculous displays of self-aggrandizement.

Like the mythological Narcissus, some people are so in love with themselves and their self-reflection, they miss the beauty that surrounds them. Narcissus had placed himself at the center of the universe; his prideful attitude marred the true image of love, and his saccharin sentimentalism had the appeal of a rancorous brass bell and clanging cymbal.

Even if he were the most talented player alive, Narcissus would see very little playing time if he was on a team coached by Kansas State’s Bill Snyder.  While Coach Snyder is well-known for his winning record on the field, it’s what he does off the field that is even most important; he mentors young people and helps them build lives of character.

Over his years of coaching, Snyder has developed his 16 Goals for Success, and I find the first three on this list absent from much of our egocentric society:16g

  1. Commitment: To common goals and to being successful.
  2. Unselfishness: There is no “I” in TEAM.
  3. Unity: Come together as never before.

After Kansas State defeated Texas A&M in the Texas Bowl, Snyder commented: Good things happen when we play as a family.  This is more than a sound bite, it’s a theme that’s at the core of Snyder’s legacy.

When the University and Alumni wanted to name the Stadium in the coach’s honor, Snyder agreed, but with one stipulation; it had to include the word family, so it was christened, Bill Snyder Family Football Stadium.

As a Coach, Snyder strives for the harmonious sound of the symphony, and he has little room for the narcissist’s one-man band. Snyder’s philosophy is a practical application of a New Testament principle that I encourage you to embrace: Each of you as a good manager must use the gift that God has given you to serve others. ~I Peter 4:10

Fickle or Faithful?

Mario+Cantone+Monty+Hall+Mario+Cantone+Hosts+dpcp3vqC2VFlFrom 1963 to 1977, Let’s Make A Deal was one of the favorite shows on television.  It was hosted by Monty Hall who would offer a deal to contestants.  The contestant would either accept the deal or choose between doors #1, #2, or #3.

Throughout each day of your life, you make several choices.  Some of these are minor, and others can be life-changing.  The power and potential of choices have been the subject of many people, including:

  • Michel J. Fox: I have no choice about whether or not I have Parkinson’s. I have nothing but choices about how I react to it. In those choices, there’s freedom to do a lot of things in areas that I wouldn’t have otherwise found myself in.
  • Buddy Hackett: As a child my family’s menu consisted of two choices: take it or leave it.
  • Harvey Mackay: When you wake up every day, you have two choices. You can either be positive or negative; an optimist or a pessimist. I choose to be an optimist. It’s all a matter of perspective.

When you read John’s third epistle, you see the names of 3 men listed.  If you had to make the choice to pattern your life after one of these men, which would it be? Which door would you choose:

  • Door #1: Gaius
  • Door #2: Diotrephes
  • Door #3: Demetrius

Door #1 is a wise choice because Gaius was commended by John for his spiritual maturity.  Gaius tried to walk in the footsteps of John, and he had most likely read the words of Paul: “For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come (1 Timothy 4:8).”

Door #2 is a different story.  John described Diotrephes as a person “who loves to be first, and will have nothing to do with us.” Diotrephes has been described as a man who loved being the center of attention and one who wanted to control the decisions

Paul addressed this same issue when he wrote to the church at Rome:  “Because of the grace allotted to me, I can respectfully tell you not to think of yourselves as being more important than you are; devote your minds to sound judgment since God has assigned to each of us a measure of faith (Romans 12:13).”

Door #4 is also a great choice.  John thought highly of Demetrius, and he said that, “Demetrius has a good reputation with everyone we know. The truth stands on his side, and we add our unreserved recommendation to the long list of accounts on his behalf. You can rest assured that we are telling the truth.”

Through which door will you walk?  It might determine whether you live a life that is fickle or faithful.  As you think about this question, give some thought to these words from Romans 16:

I am pleading with all of you, brothers and sisters, to keep up your guard against anyone who is causing conflicts and enticing others with teachings contrary to what you have already learned. If there are people like that in your churches, stay away from them.  These kinds of people are not truly serving our Lord; they have devoted their lives to satisfying their own appetites. With smooth talking and a well-rehearsed blessing, they lead a lot of unsuspecting people down the wrong path.  The stories about the way you are living in obedience to God have traveled to all the churches. So celebrate your faithfulness to God that is being displayed in your lives—seek wisdom about the good life, and remain innocent when it comes to evil

Fickle or faithful: What is being displayed in your life?

Ego-centrism and the Decisions You Make

selfishIn yesterday’s post to this blog, I wrote about the choices we make. Today’s post considers ego-centrism and how it can prevent you from making wise decisions:
• egocentric memory (the natural tendency to “forget” evidence and information which does not support our thinking and to “remember” evidence and information which does)
• egocentric infallibility (the natural tendency to think that our beliefs are true because we believe them)
• egocentric righteousness (the natural tendency to feel superior in the light of our confidence that we are in the possession of THE TRUTH)
• egocentric hypocrisy (the natural tendency to ignore flagrant inconsistencies between what we profess to believe and the actual beliefs our behavior imply, or inconsistencies between the standards to which we hold ourselves and those to which we expect others to adhere)
• egocentric blindness (the natural tendency not to notice facts or evidence which contradict our favored beliefs or values)

Now that you are aware of the detrimental influence of ego-centrism, let me suggest some questions you need to ask yourself:
• What does the Bible says about my situation
• Who can help me understand the Biblical principles that apply to my situation?
• Am I the only one who has this interpretation of the events?
• Do I have all the facts, and have I given honest consideration to all viewpoints?
• Is it so personal and emotional that my interpretation of the event is biased?
• What motives are influencing my decision?
• What are my blind spots?

After asking yourself the questions above, I suggest you give prayerful consideration to the verses that follow:
• Proverbs 2:6: For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.
• Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths.
• Proverbs 16:2: All a man’s ways seem right to him, but the Lord evaluates the motives
• Proverbs 18:1-2: One who isolates himself pursues selfish desires; he rebels against all sound judgment. A fool does not delight in understanding, but only wants to show off his opinions
• Proverbs 18:13,17: The one who gives an answer before he listens—this is foolishness and disgrace for him . . . The first to state his case seems right until another comes and cross-examines him.

I’ll end with this footnote: To make good decisions and to resolve personal issues, you need to let go of your ego.