An adaptation of an age-old story about pride by: Rev. Ed Schneider

american-bullfrog_11266_600x450A few years ago on a fictitious road trip to Florida, my imaginary traveling companion and I observed something quite amazing….something that neither one of us had ever seen before….and have never seen again.  We were witnesses to a display of God’s actual sense of humor.

Now, before we go too far into this important and Divinely inspired tale, I would ask you to review the following scripture as a backdrop to this parable.

Your fierceness has deceived you, The pride of your heart, O you who dwell in the clefts of the rock, Who hold the height of the hill! Though you make your nest as high as the eagle, I will bring you down from there,” says the Lord.  Jeremiah 49:16

Let your mind’s eye begin to wander through the long and winding roads of America’s deep south. As myself and my companion drove through the great state of Georgia, we had reason to a halt our progress at a local eatery.  It was at this location where the first of two incredible miracles happened.

Here is how the two miracles unfolded.

It began as we were were standing underneath the wooden awning outside of the establishment waiting to go into the place where lunch would be served.  As we stood there my companion looked downward past the concrete slab on the ground near the edge of the landscaping and saw the strangest sight.  She saw a very fat bullfrog sitting near the right side of the concrete walkway directly in front of the restaurant’s front door.  It was just sitting there, breathing in and breathing out.

As my traveling companion gently jabbed me with her elbow to draw my attention to what must have been a four or five-pound creature. As I geesestarted to gaze at this grand amphibian, I joined the growing audience of viewers who were also waiting in line. Soon thereafter, all those who were apparently mesmerized by the bullfrog began to look slightly up from the frog to see approaching from the left, two majestic geese.  As they strolled down the sidewalk the long line of hungry humans got out of their way. In fact, the two geese continued to walk effortlessly as though none of us human beings mattered in the least.  They waddled right up to the bullfrog and just stood there looking back and forth between the plump green frog and the growing crowd of witnesses.

The bullfrog didn’t  move much except turning of his head slightly from side to side as he surveyed the two new feathered guests. At that very moment the first miracle happened  – he spoke.  With my tongue firmly planted in cheek, I’m telling the truth; the bullfrog looked at the two geese and said, “Hey guys.  What’s the flock up to these days?”

Needless to say, everyone experiencing this scene were all stunned by what had just occurred. Many of us look at each other as if to say, “Did I just hear what I think I heard?” One guy to the left actually said out loud, “Did anyone else hear that or am I going crazy?” One sheepish person said, “I think I heard it but…I must be mistaken!.”  Another person said, “It has to be a trick, right?” Then one of the geese, I think it was the one on the right, chimed in and told everyone present, “I don’t know why all of you are so surprised, he does that all the time.” At that very moment, the short lady the wearing the purple dress in the front fainted.

Well, if these contrary to nature events weren’t enough, the really important stuff now started to happen.  The bullfrog started to verbally share with his feathered friends that he had always wanted to fly. Even though the two geese explained the innate difficulty involved with trying to do something that God had not intended, their fat little friend wouldn’t accept a “NO” for the final answer. As he grew more and more frustrated with the two large birds not willing to “buy into” his vision, the bullfrog said to the geese, “If I can figure out a way to fly it would you help me do it?” They replied they would be happy to help a friend…as long as he could come up with something that would actually work.

So, the bullfrog sat there for a few moments thinking about all the differing options regarding the science and art of flying.  While all this “thinking” was going on, the bullfrog, who at this point was looking very perplexed at the difficulty of the challenge, looked right at me and asked, “Don’t you know of any way I can fly?” I told a hard thinking bullfrog that I was impressed by his sincerity but I didn’t  think that he would be able to circumvent the will of God in this matter.

In no uncertain terms, the passionately plump amphibian told me he wouldn’t let some “God thing” limit his ability to solve the challenge at hand.  So he thought and thought and thought.  Suddenly, he let out a great cry and hopped straight up in the air proclaiming that he had figured it out.

As we were all watching, he told the goose on his left to go over to the flower bed of the restaurant and pick up one of the many sturdy sticks that were lying in plain sight.  After the goose brought an 18 inch stick back and gave it to the bossy bullfrog, he instructed the two geese to hold each end of the piece of the wood in their beaks.

After they had done so, he positioned himself directly in the middle of the two geese. As they were firmly grasping the two ends of the stick, he stretched as far as he was able and grabbed the middle of the stick with his strong jaws. He held it tightly as the two geese stood up. It was quite a sight to behold!  As he hung there, it was obvious what his intention was; the arrogant bullfrog was going to hold on tightly as his two friends took off from the ground and soared into the sky above.

As the two geese were flying in tandem with their green talking friend hanging between them, the bullfrog began to think how great it was to be off the ground. He thought about how he was able to change the rules God had put into place. To say the least, his sense-of-self was growing with each second of flight experienced.

He was so proud of himself for having the intellect to solve such a problem, a problem that no other bullfrog had been able to figure out. He was bursting with “sinful pride” concerning how great, how smart, how amazing he was.

Just as he was basking in the glow of his own genius, the rest of the geese who belonged to the flock flew by. They, like everyone else on the ground, were in shock to see the bullfrog hanging from the middle of the stick. Even though his legs were flopping in the wind, even though he truly looked silly, he was soaring above the ground along with his friends. He felt great about himself. He had a tremendous sense of personal satisfaction.

Many of the other geese in the flock started to fly up to the soaring threesome to get a closer look at the miracle that was before them….and that is where the next miracle happened.

One of the leaders of the flock came right up next to the bullfrog and told the hanging amphibian how smart of an idea it was to think of holding a stick while his friends carried him aloft. The leader of the flock asked the bullfrog, “Who thought of this idea?”

At that very moment¸ the bullfrog, now somewhere around 1500 feet in the air, and completely full of his own sense of prideful accomplishment, opened his mouth and said to the complimentary goose, “Me-e-e-e-e-e-e!!!” as he started that long fall to the pavement below.

At the very moment he should have been thinking about the help he had received, he was more concerned about taking the credit for the flying adventure himself.

Beloved, this “sinful” pride had taken over his sense of thankfulness. His pride removed his humble demeanor. His pride, as all pride eventually becomes when it is unchecked, was false and destructive.

Believe me when I say that it wasn’t pretty when the full-figured bullfrog fell to his death. No self-deceiving or self-indulgent effect caused by pride is ever pleasant to look at, and few people get the opportunity to recover fully from the fall unless – or until – they allow God’s grace to reawaken their sense of personal priorities and spiritual awareness.

Many self-indulgent Christians….if that is even possible…should take a long look in the spiritual mirror concerning a misplaced sense of personal pride and how it may be getting in the way of growing God’s kingdom.  Peace.

The pride of your heart has deceived you, You who dwell in the clefts of the rock, Whose habitation is high; You who say in your heart, ‘Who will bring me down to the ground?’   Obadiah 1:3

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