A Conductor Concocter by Patty LaRoche

Patty LaRoche. 2023

My husband’s mother, Phyllis, worked for decades as the office manager of a car dealership.  Buyers dealt with her when they purchased a vehicle.  One day, a man sat down at Phyllis’s desk to finalize the details of his purchase.  Phyllis noted that his last name was “LaRoche.”

“LaRoche?  Seems like I’ve heard that name before,” she chuckled.

“Do you follow baseball?” he answered.

“I do.”

“Well then, that’s probably it.  My brother Dave is a pitcher for the Angels.”

Dave’s mom started laughing.  “You could have fooled me.  I’m Phyllis LaRoche.  I’m Dave’s mother.”

Some people will do anything to be recognized or valued, a theme repeated in my upcoming book.  If you’ve ever stretched the truth to appear qualified, needed, or superior, you know what this is like.

In the New Testament, we read that Barnabas had sold his property and presented the disciples with the money he made from the sale.  We can imagine the accolades and high-fives given to Barnabas for his generosity.

The married couple Ananias and Sapphira wanted in on the praise.  They too sold their land but kept back some of the profit for themselves.  There’s nothing wrong with that, except they lied to the disciples and said that they gave it all, a lie that cost them their lives.

God doesn’t want big-shots; He wants people of humility.  In The Best of Lee Strobel’s “Investigating Faith,” he writes this: “Humility involves an appropriate acknowledgment and realistic assessment of oneself. If you’re a skilled piano player, you don’t say, ‘I’m no good on the piano.’ That’s being out of touch with reality. On the other hand, the pianist should recognize that this talent is a gift he’s received from God.”

“John,” an American atheist who owned at our condominium complex in Mexico, showed up one year with long hair and a story about how he, in a few months, would lead an orchestra in his hometown in the United States.  Impressive, right?  Everyone was talking about his conductor opportunity.  I ran into John one day and congratulated him on being selected for his upcoming debut.  He began demonstrating his “a-one-and-a-two-and-a” pretend-baton movement while shaking his long hair from side to side.  He definitely was into his new role.

A few days later, his wife and I were chatting.  I asked if she was impressed that her husband had been chosen to conduct an orchestra.  She seemed surprised.  “He wasn’t chosen.  He won it in an auction.  He just outbid the other bidders.”  A small detail John failed to share.

One of my favorite quotes on humility comes from Pastor Rick Warren.  “Humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less…”  No one knew this better than Jesus.  After Jesus fasted for 40 days, Satan appeared to him and gave him three chances to exalt himself: change stones into bread so he could eat; throw himself down from a high building and be saved by his angels; or worship him (Satan) and be given all the world’s kingdoms.

Jesus wasn’t about to do any of those things.  His purpose was to show others the way to Heaven, not to call attention to himself.  One demonstrates humility, the other, pride.

Dear Lord, let me remember that in everything I say and do.

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