Sunday, June 28, 2009

A Bucket of Pride

In the 1997 movie "The Bucket List" Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman play Edward Cole and Carter Chambers, two terminally ill men escape from a cancer ward and head off on a road trip with a wish list of to-dos before they die. Edward Cole runs the hospital where he is admitted, and is paired up with Carter Chambers, an auto mechanic for 45 years, as his roommate. The film trailer below gives you a brief overview of the story:

Cole was a very, very successful business man, and was proud of his accomplishments. Rightly so. There is nothing wrong with a healthy pride, receiving recognition for a job well done. One modest response to pride would be to say, "Thank you," giving the recognition to those who helped you along the way, and to move on, continuing to accomplish things in your life.

Unfortunately, Edward Cole did not stop there. He went through life seeming to act as if he were the most important person in the world. He called the shots in his life, and lived his life to the fullest with gusto! During the "Bucket List" days, he and Carter travel around the world, experiencing things that most people don't even dare to dream of.

But at what cost?

In one scene, Cole and Carter are in Egypt admiring the Great Pyramids (link here). Carter turns to Cole and says, "When the ancient Egyptians died (Carter says), the gods would be waiting at the gates of heaven to ask them two questions before allowing them to enter. 1) Have you found joy in your life? 2) Has your life brought joy to others?" Cole opens up to Carter about the estranged relationship he has with his daughter. As seen in the earlier clip, Carter arranges for a father-daughter reunion, only to be angrily rejected. Apparently Carter thought that for the daughter to open the door to make amends with her father would be sweeter than a knock on the door from Ed McMahon. Cole obviously thought otherwise.

When our pride is out of control, we miss out on the blessings of being in relationship with one another. Our fellowship with God is interrupted. Our "joy pipeline" becomes like an artery with plaque build-up, waiting to cut off our lives. Our lives may have joy in them, and we may bring a bit of joy to others, but neither one is to the extent of fullness that God intends for us.

Here is a picture of my Pride and Joy:
(I just had to put that in there.)

Actually, I put the picture there to make a point. It's perfectly OK to have pride, as long as it is healthy pride, and not haughty. We also ought to have joy. Lots of joy. May the joy we have and the joy we share always be far greater than our pride.

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