Ben Odd

Bragging on Jesus Article January 5, 2018 / Robin Aylor

Jeremiah 9:23 Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches, 24 but let him who boasts boast in this, that he understands and knows me, that I am the LORD who practices steadfast love, justice, and righteousness in the earth. For in these things I delight, declares the LORD.”

Most people know what pride is… It’s when its about you, when you’re the focus and center. Whenever we shine the spotlight on ourselves for ourselves its pride.

I’m going to read a story and would invite you to keep watch for the different examples and varying kinds of pride. 

I would like to introduce you to Ben. Ben had always been odd. In fact, Ben’s last name was Odd. He has always been… Ben Odd. Ben had lots of issues with insecurity in his life and people made fun of him and his name. He learned to control his environment by staying away from people much of his life. He finally found a place where people would accept him at a small country Church in his home town where he attended the remainder of his life and even became a deacon. But he still struggled with insecurity and control issues his whole life. 

 

It has been a year now since Ben first become a deacon at the church. Sunday mornings begins with him leading a pre-service prayer with the Elders. Then he goes to the Sanctuary to find the praise team and leads them in a prayer. He always opens morning services with prayer and hardly ever trusts this honor to another deacon or church member. He carries out the morning welcome and afterward leads in responsive reading. 

 

Ben’s wife Mary Odd is a Christian author. Often he asks her to share a spiritual truth or quote from one of her two books before the Pastor brings the message. Ben is highly subjective of asking anyone else to speak before the congregation. He always leads in another prayer just before the Pastor comes to the pulpit. Ben's prayers are very spiritual-sounding but he repeats basically the same prayer each time he prays. He never prays with his family at home.

 

It has bee 5 years now and Ben is just as overprotective of his position in the Church as ever. God has given him this honor in a leadership role and he has no intentions of letting anyone take it from him. He feels humble in telling himself he not worthy to be a part of leadership in the church but on the other hand he doesn’t know anyone else who could do quite as good a job or is quite as mature in their faith as himself.

 

Concerning his self, Ben is clearly over-sensitive. His feelings are hurt so easily that he is sometimes offended when he thinks someone is looking at him too much… thinking they are doing so with contempt. On the other hand if someone does not make eye contact with him he considers them snobbish. The grey matter in his head makes up conspiracies involving others in relation to himself. His mind is always analyzing peoples motives in regards to him. That was how it is... always about himself although he does not see it that way. When someone calls him on something that was un-Christian-like and obvious, he quickly defends himself or deflects the issue by pointing the finger at the person who is holding him accountable. However, strangely enough, when he commits an unintentional mistake that he thinks is trivial and insignificant, he apologizes over and over to the max realizing it is not a threat to his position. I lite apology always makes him feel and look humble.

 

As time past… Ben perfected many conversational control techniques, always managing to subtly bring out and publicize his good deeds. He would speak softly when needed and used every tool at his disposal including the use of spiritual sounding words and quoting isolated scripture verses out of context. He even used humor as an offensive tool sometimes to get his point across and keep people in their place out of his domain, but on the other hand he himself could not take a joke at all and was very judgmental.

 

Ben seemed to love his wife very much. In fact he was controlling and defensive for her reputation in the Church. But instead of unconditional love, it was more like a “better than thou” and “we deserve better” attitude for his family that motivated this protective nature.

 

Finally Ben loved debating and arguing when he had the upper hand but actually listening and considering with sincerity was not his strong suite. He was one who always had to have the last say. 

 

Even at the end of his life he strove to have the last word. You see, he still had the same insecurity and control issues. When at last as an old man and he was planning his funeral, Ben request that his last name “Odd”; not be placed on his tombstone so people would not continue to make fun of him after his death. And so after he past away his family granted his request.  His headstone just read “Here Lies Ben”. However, from then on when passers by noticed that there was no last name they would often comment: Isn’t that Odd? or some would say: Thats Odd isn’t it? And so Ben Odd was never able to free himself from his worst fears.

 

Did you catch any of these types of pride in the story? 

 

*There is arrogant pride which embraces haughtiness and snobbery. 

*Did you see any false humility or self righteous pride.

*And what about reclusive pride.

We sometimes miss this one. Reclusive pride is when our confidence wavers, and yet our focus is still on ourselves. At those times our pride drives us to withdraw because we don’t want to fail or look bad. When this happens pride keeps us from stepping forward in obedience for the Lord.

A good rule of thumb is when its all about “me” its pride.

 

Philippians 2:5 says: Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7 but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.

 

Lets us no longer carry boastful pride in ourselves but serve one another always bragging on Jesus, through whom we receive the grace of God, payment for our sin and justification through his resurrection for all who believe for his glory!!!!