Thus says the Lord: “Let not the wise man boast in his wisdom, let not the mighty man boast in his might, let not the rich man boast in his riches…” Jeremiah 9:23
Dave and I were standing in line to board our flight when a fellow passenger noticed Dave’s name on his backpack label. Not quietly, he yelled—and I mean YELLED— “You aren’t the Dave LaRoche who pitched for the Indians, are you?” This fan needed no bull horn. Caught off guard, my husband nodded. The over-excited man turned to his friend standing a good 10-feet away. “Jim, you aren’t going to believe this. This is Dave LaRoche!!! Come on over and meet him.”
I turned my back and struck up a conversation with the young couple in front of me who had pivoted to see what the commotion was all about. “So, how about those Chiefs!” I said. They, like many in line, were far too young to have heard of Dave.
This was more of an annoyance than a reason to ask for an autograph. Dave, now embarrassed, answered quietly the questions of the man with the 60-foot voice. “Who was the best pitcher you ever saw?” “When did you retire?” “Who was the toughest hitter you faced?”
The security line could not move fast enough. One of my husband’s greatest strengths is his humility, a quality he instilled in all of our children.
No home run was ever hit when our kids raised their fists as they ran around the bases. None of them pumped their arms in order to get the fans to clap louder for them. The most acknowledgement I ever saw from them was a tip of their baseball cap following a standing ovation for something they did on the field.
As Dave always said, “Act like you’ve done this before, not like it’s a big deal.”
This past Sunday, All-Pro NFL player and game commentator, Rodney Harrison, stood alongside three other celebrity analysts, Harrison the only one not holding his own umbrella during the pre-game rainfall. Responses were not kind, speculating whose hand clutched Harrison’s umbrella and questioning why he was too cool to hold his own.
Let’s face it. Self-exaltation impresses no one, yet social media offers a platform to boast about our strengths or accomplishments.
Recently, a friend shared a series of pictures a mutual acquaintance posted on Facebook, each an elegant dinner she had prepared for her husband. Crab legs. Kobe beef. Escargot. Every time the couple goes to a classy restaurant, a picture of the meal is shared. But what does that do for those who will never be able to afford such flair? (How can my Taco Bell super taco compare?)
Saint Augustine had great advice: “Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility.”
The inventor Samuel Morse once was asked if he ever encountered situations where he didn’t know what to do. Morse responded, “More than once, and whenever I could not see my way clearly, I knelt down and prayed to God for light and understanding.” Morse felt undeserving for the many honors received from his invention of the telegraph. “I have made a valuable application of electricity not because I was superior to other men but solely because God, who meant it for mankind, must reveal it to someone and He was pleased to reveal it to me.”
So, let’s finish where we started. Verse 24 of Jeremiah 9 completes the sentence: “…but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the LORD.
Which is precisely why I keep my super taco photo to myself.