Meditations by John Dean

Monday, May 12, 2014

Big Duck/Little Pond

(Ecclesiastes 9:14-16 Message) There was a small town with only a few
 people in it. A strong king came and mounted an attack, building  
 trenches and attack posts around it. There was a poor but wise man 
 in that town whose wisdom saved the town, but he was promptly
 forgotten. (He was only a poor man, after all.) All the same, I still say
 that wisdom is better than muscle, even though the wise poor man was
 treated with contempt and soon forgotten.

For some reason it seems natural for one to associate words like strength, power or wisdom with size or riches. The fact is…one has nothing to do with the other.

In the case of our text it not only tells us about a small town that is hardly worth mentioning to a poor man with wisdom. However, this poor man was not just any poor man…the wisdom of this poor man actually “saved the town.”

It also seems as though when two or more people get together a natural pecking order develops. We certainly find this to be the case with the small town and the poor wise man. In other words, the poor wise man ended up at the bottom of the food chain and was soon forgotten.

The town did not forget him because of his wisdom…they forgot him because of his poverty. There seems to be something about poverty that repels even those who are less poor.

The pride of this town was enormous, but their ability to actually save themselves was minute. Because of their enormous pride they distanced themselves from the poor man even though his wisdom is what saved them.

One day while my wife and I were driving from Austria to Switzerland on our vacation, we drove through the little country of Lichtenstein. The land mass of the entire country is just under 1/7th the size of my home town of San Antonio, Texas. The country also has a constitutional monarchy and is headed by a prince.

Is it my imagination or do most of us want to be bigger and more important than we actually are? Our way of accomplishing that is by ignoring the facts and pretending they are true.

As we drove across the border into Lichtenstein I could physically feel the enormous pressure of selfish pride. I have never felt anything like that before and it did not feel good.

I have also noticed this same spirit of pride in some small churches as well. Like Lichtenstein, their government seemed to be a constitutional monarchy ruled by a prince type of pastor who never understood the need of others. In other words, they are like a big duck in a little pond.

There is nothing wrong with being a big duck and there is nothing wrong with being in a small pond. However, when one thinks they are something when they are not, then selfish pride is sure to prevail.

Perhaps this is what Paul meant in Romans 12:3, when he said, “not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think.”

Help us to become more aware of how You sometimes meet our needs through another brother or sister. Forgive us for the times we have displayed selfish pride through our independence. Help us not to “think more highly of ourselves than we ought.”

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