DON'T CROW TOO LOUD.
Two roosters. One barnyard. Bad news.
The barnyard was deserted. The wooden door to the hen house banged open and shut. Two roosters faced each other, their eyes cold and their beaks unsmiling.
"This coop ain't big enough for the both of us," snarled Rudy Rooster.
"You got that right, ya no-'count varmint," Renaldo Rooster countered. "I want you on the first stage outta this here chicken coop."
"The only rooster leavin' here today'11 be you, Renaldo in a KFC box!"
Suddenly, without warning, Rudy jumped Renaldo, and the battle began, the two roosters scratching and clawing and squawking like World War III had come to their little chicken coop. They rolled and flapped in the dirt until Renaldo broke free. He tucked his wings and ran for shelter under a broken down wagon.
"Ha!" shouted Rudy. "I am the champion!" he crowed. He jumped to the roof of the hen house and started crowing at the top of his lungs.
While Rudy boasted of his new superiority over the barnyard, an eagle heard his horrible singing. Fastening an eye on the boastful bantam, the eagle swooped down and carried Rudy off in his mighty talons.
Moments later Renaldo emerged from the shelter of the old wagon and cast an eye toward the heavens. The sky was clear, and the day was bright. Renaldo's position was undisputed. He was the only rooster in the whole chicken coop.
Everybody is tempted at some time or another to get a little conceited. It's a common temptation to want to brag about something good you've done. But being prideful is not only unattractive it's wrong. The Bible says, "Haughty eyes, a proud heart, and evil actions are all sin" (Proverbs 21:4).
That doesn't mean you shouldn't feel good when you do a really good job. Nor does it mean that you shouldn't feel comfortable with who you are. It does mean, however, that when you begin feeling and acting as if you're better than others, you're making a wrong choice. Confidence is good. Taking pleasure in your achievements is good. But haughty eyes and a proud heart are wrong.
So the next time you're tempted to brag and swagger a little bit, remember Rudy and Renaldo, and pray that you won't fall prey to pride.
REFLECT: In Proverbs 21:4, what do you think the phrases "haughty eyes" and "a proud heart" mean? Do you ever take try to be "number one" no matter whom it hurts? Do you ever take too much credit for things? How can you avoid the sins today's Scripture reading talks about?
PRAY (adapted from Psalm 131): "0 Lord, if my heart is proud, if my eyes are haughty, teach me to quiet my soul before you, and to humble myself in your sight and in the sight of others, especially when..."