Have you ever been to a carnival or county fair? The games are great, aren't they?
Of course, in most games, you take your chances. You might try throwing balls at a stack of cans or milk bottles, hoping to win a stuffed bear as big as you are. Unfortunately, the only way to knock all the cans or bottles off the platform is to hit a mere one-inch spot on the right side of the middle milk bottle on the bottom row. Miss that spot by a tiny bit, and you lose your money.
Or you might roll a bowling ball in a curving metal frame, trying to make the ball come to rest in the middle of the frame between the two little slopes. Unfortunately, the ball must be rolled at exactly .0178904 miles per hour and be pushed with exactly 1.5829 pounds per square inch of pressure on the exact center of the ball, or you lose your money.
Usually, the only sure way to win at a carnival or county fair is for you to try the fish pond. Using a tiny fishing rod, you try to hook a magnetized fish floating in a canal of water or, in some fish ponds, simply pick a floating fish (or duck) out of the water to reveal a number on the bottom. Either way, you always win a prize: a rubber worm, a plastic ring, a friendship bracelet. It's not much, but at least it's something, right?
There are some people who go through life playing "fish pond," even when they're not at a carnival or fair. And what they're fishing for are compliments and approval.
"Did you see that home run I hit? Knocked it clear into the woods! I don't think anyone else has ever hit a ball that far! Do you?"
"When the lady finished cutting my hair and I looked in the mirror, I couldn't believe how good I looked. Don't you think so?"
Of course, you'd never be guilty of such "fishing expeditions," would you? You'd never fish for compliments. You'd never brag or boast like that, would you?
Actually, almost all of us do it at one time or another. But God is very clear in telling us that we should not fish for compliments or brag about ourselves. He wants us to be humble. He wants us to be like Christ Jesus. Although he was God, Jesus humbled himself in order to become our Savior (Philippians 2:5-8; Hebrews 12:2).
So the next time you find something you're good at, or a new outfit you look wonderful in, leave your fishing pole at home. As the Bible says, "Don't praise yourself; let others do it!" (Proverbs 27:2).
REFLECT: Do you ever fish for compliments or brag about yourself? Which do you think would be better: to be complimented because you "fished" for a compliment or to be complimented when you weren't "fishing" for a compliment? Why? Think of some ways you can obey the commands in today's Bible reading ("Don't be selfish," "Be humble," "Be interested in others").
PRAY: "Lord Jesus, help me to avoid fishing for compliments. Instead, help me to look for ways to compliment those around me."