On September 12, 2001, Americans were already discussing ways we could replace the fallen Twin Towers with even taller and greater buildings. I must confess I too was caught up in this prideful and self-centered rhetoric hoping our country would arrogantly display our intelligence, our wealth, and our unceasing drive to be great by building a newer, taller, and more modern World Trade Center tower. Amidst our compassionate prayers and support for the families of those injured or who had died, we interspersed our feelings and passions for what we wanted to build and how we were going to do it.
Interestingly, we sought God to comfort the sorrowing. But we sought engineers and venture capitalists to display our superiority.
And it never seemed to register with most of us that at a time when we thought we were turning to God, we were completely leaving him out of our plans for the future. “I have seen all things that are done under the sun, and behold, all is vanity and a chase after wind” (Eccl 1:14). In other words, all human endeavors without an intervention from God are acts of self-importance, and they produce nothing good.
Have you ever experienced this kind of pride at work?
Maybe the desire to be the number one sales person or the number one employee has, at times, prohibited you from focusing on God in your work.
Have you ever made a mistake at work and spent hours or even days trying to determine how something or someone else caused the mistake? The amount of time you spent creating an elaborate case for someone else’s accountability could have been used to correct the mistake.
Have you ever been in a situation with a customer or co-worker where reconciliation was necessary for your relationship to move forward? However, did you instead let pride prohibit any type of constructive dialogue from even commencing?
The first sin ever committed was by an angel named Lucifer. He aimed to ascend to be like the Most High God. He was consequently banished to the bottom of the pit. Adam and Eve were the next to sin. They ate the fruit, hoping to have the wisdom of gods. We all know how things turned out for them. The sin committed in both of these situations? Pride.
Because pride is the belief in our own abilities, it blocks God’s graces in our lives.
St. Thomas Aquinas wrote: “inordinate self-love is the cause of every sin.” In other words, all sin starts with pride.
Consider these few ways that can help us become humble and not prideful:
- Remember that God is God and we are not. Include God in every decision – even at work. He loves you so much that he is just as interested in the small decisions as he is the larger ones.
- Freely give God glory, praise, and thanksgiving for all the good in your work-life. Recognize him as the source of all love and goodness.
- Build business and professional relationships based on your sincere love for others. Discover ways you can support them spiritually, emotionally, and physically.
- Encourage everyone. Pray for them. Show them you care.
- Examine your heart at least once daily. Allow it to increase your faith, with greater joy at work, so you can love God and others more.
- Vocalize Proverbs 16:18–19 every day. “Pride goes before disaster, and a haughty spirit before a fall. It is better to be humble with the poor than to share plunder with the proud.”
There is nothing wrong with building or replacing tall buildings as long as doing so is a directive from God.
Being proud of our families, our pastor, and the work we do are all good as long as our pride is God inspired.
But in all things, let’s remember to keep God first. “The reward for humility is riches and honor and life” (Proverbs 22:4).
About Mike Van Vranken
Mike Van Vranken, a lifelong Catholic, is a writer, speaker, retreat leader, and teacher. Following forty years of leading, coaching, and developing business owners, Mike founded Mike Van Vranken Ministries to fulfill his passion to bring Jesus to the world around him. He brings his experiences as a mentor, leader, speaker, coach, and entrepreneur to provide teaching and spiritual leadership to all who are interested. His dream is to deliver the teachings of Jesus to women and men, old and young, poor and rich, people of every background and diversity – to the entire body of Christ.
Mike is co-author of the brand new book: Faith Positive in a Negative World. In paperback and on Kindle now at amazon.com. He and Barbara, his wife of 42 years, live in Shreveport, LA. Discover more about Mike at www.mikevanvrankenministries.org as well as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, and Google.