Thought for the Day – B. Pascal on Pretentiousness

We are all something, but none of us are everything.”– Blaise Pascal

Recently a friend of mine told me about an incident that really irritated him. He and the colleagues from his firm recently invited an number of executives of a partner firm to join them in a get-to-know-you social exchange. In my friend’s opinion, one of his coworkers “embarrassed the firm” by his constant self-promotion. According to my friend, this coworker repeatedly turned the conversation to his own accomplishments. Although this man was undoubtedly oblivious to his behavior, his pomposity was a big turn-off to all who attended the event.

We’ve all been in similar situations—perhaps even unwittingly in the role of the pretentious irritant. Long ago, the disciples of Jesus had their pompous moments too. In one instance, Jesus had just declared that one of them would betray Him. Immediately, an argument broke out about which of them was the greatest (Luke 22:24). What a fascinating conversation shift that must have been! At the first word of betrayal the disciples were pulling out and polishing up their trophies. But Jesus turned their notion of what’s great upside down, instructing them that “the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves” (Luke 22:26). He wasn’t suggesting that they were inferior to others. No, instead, it was precisely because of their role as future rulers of a greater kingdom (Luke 22:29-30), they could serve others in this lesser one. Jesus’ reminder for them then, is a worthwhile one for us today as well.

Your thoughts? How might you demonstrate service to your coworkers, friends, and family today?

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