(Originally posted as “Troubled Waters”, 3/20/2013)
Lots of life’s lessons happen when we least expect them.
It all happened about 30 years ago, early one Sunday morning.
As usual, I arrived at our church around 5:30 in the morning. I enjoyed having extra preparation time, time to pray and worship God, and time to relax a little before Sunday School classes began.
You see, I saw myself as God’s servant, full of faith and power; God’s man for the hour. Superman!
Some simply referred to me as the pastor.
Our church wasn’t very old at this point, maybe 4 years, and we met in a 30’x40′ metal building that used to be a laundromat. The building had a sanctuary which seated 65 people, 2 classrooms, a hallway, and a unisex bathroom. The bathroom was beautiful, having a marble-like sink, nice big mirror, decent linoleum floor covering, and an average toilet.
The toilet. The place it all happened, early one Sunday morning.
Before I continue my story, I need to explain a thing or three.
First, stuff happens. To me, to you, to whoever. It just happens.
Second, the greater one thinks he is, the greater the pain when he comes face to face with an important truth: “I’m not as great as I think.“
Third, to learn such an important truth, embarrassing situations beyond one’s ability to control sometimes must occur.
It was to be my first time having class in a bathroom.
Okay. I had a morning ritual not unlike most people, which consisted of spending some time on the bathroom throne with some good reading material. Of course, on Sundays my reading material happened to be my morning sermon notes.
I really must interject one important point here. I usually preached between 45 minutes to an hour. Meaning what, you ask? I had a lot of notes to review…(I have since learned length of sermon doesn’t equate to degree of anointing)
Just about the time I was finishing up with both tasks (multi-tasker that I am), I decided to trip the handle on the toilet for a “pre-flush.” Thinking everything was fine, I continued reading and making mental notes while the water swished and swirled beneath me. I was “the man of God” and would dazzle “my” congregation with my ability to “rightly divide the word of God.” I was somebody special and my “Kingdom Stock” was rising.
My “stock” wasn’t the only thing rising.
I suddenly “sensed” something happening that brought me back down to earth; specifically, back to the classroom.
I was feeling water where water shouldn’t be felt!
That’s when things really began to happen. I quickly stood up (wouldn’t you?), turned around, reached for the top of the toilet tank, while keeping my eye on the whirlpool below me. I tried to reach the water shutoff valve while removing the tank top and guess what? I dropped the top onto the floor.
As it hit the floor, I witnessed it breaking into two halves. Nice!
Well, with water rising, me in a precarious position, toilet tank top in pieces on the floor, I finally got the water turned off. Great! Now I can get things cleaned up and get back to my “superman” mode.
I turned back around, preparing to take my rest for a bit longer, while I finished my interrupted job. I sat down and happened to glance at the floor. To my chagrin, I saw brown spots on the floor where I had just been standing. Little spots, trampled spots, lots of little, trampled spots – all over the floor.
And, on the bottom of my shoes.
You know what?
At that point, I forgot all about my sermon and becoming the next spiritual Clark Kent! All I could think about was getting the mess cleaned up before people started arriving.
That “classroom” experience gave me a whole new appreciation for Proverbs 16:18 – “Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall.” (NLT)
Or, “Pride Goes After The Flush.”
“Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.”(Romans 12:3 NLT)