Among the more than 19,000 original epigrams penned by chemist and writer Dr. O. A. Battista is this wise observation: “You have reached the pinnacle of success as soon as you become uninterested in money, compliments, or publicity.” Unfortunately, just the opposite often happens when something we have done is praised and rewarded. A humble heart can quickly become a swelled head.
Just before Saul was anointed king, he saw himself as a member of an insignificant family in the smallest tribe of Israel (1 Sam. 9:21). Within a few years, however, he had erected a monument in his own honor and had become the supreme authority for his conduct (15:11-12). The prophet Samuel confronted Saul for his disobedience to God by reminding him, “When you were little in your own eyes, were you not head of the tribes of Israel? And did not the Lord anoint you king over Israel?” (v.17).
Self-importance is the first step down the slippery slope of what we call success. It begins when we claim credit for God-given victories and modify His commands to suit our desires.
True success is staying on God’s path by following His Word and giving Him praise instead of craving it for ourselves. — by David C. McCasland (For: Our Daily Bread; 3/18/12)
Help me, O Lord, lest my heart become proud,
For all of my talents by You are endowed;
Nothing I have can I claim as my own—
What mercy and grace in my life You have shown! —D. De Haan
True humility credits God for every success.
READ: 1 Samuel 15:10-23
10 Then came the word of the LORD unto Samuel, saying,
11 It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the LORD all night.
12 And when Samuel rose early to meet Saul in the morning, it was told Samuel, saying, Saul came to Carmel, and, behold, he set him up a place, and is gone about, and passed on, and gone down to Gilgal.
13 And Samuel came to Saul: and Saul said unto him, Blessed be thou of the LORD: I have performed the commandment of the LORD.
14 And Samuel said, What meaneth then this bleating of the sheep in mine ears, and the lowing of the oxen which I hear?
15 And Saul said, They have brought them from the Amalekites: for the people spared the best of the sheep and of the oxen, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God; and the rest we have utterly destroyed.
16 Then Samuel said unto Saul, Stay, and I will tell thee what the LORD hath said to me this night. And he said unto him, Say on.
17 And Samuel said, When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the LORD anointed thee king over Israel?
18 And the LORD sent thee on a journey, and said, Go and utterly destroy the sinners the Amalekites, and fight against them until they be consumed.
19 Wherefore then didst thou not obey the voice of the LORD, but didst fly upon the spoil, and didst evil in the sight of the LORD?
20 And Saul said unto Samuel, Yea, I have obeyed the voice of the LORD, and have gone the way which the LORD sent me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites.
21 But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God in Gilgal.
22 And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.
23 For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the LORD, he hath also rejected thee from being king.