Book Sale

Tuesday 10 January 2023

Don't Be Arrogant


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Pride comes before a great fall:

The Fox and the Cat

It happened that the cat met the fox in a forest, and as she thought to herself, "He is clever and full of experience, and much esteemed in the world," she spoke to him in a friendly way. "Good day, dear Mr. Fox, how are you? How is all with you? How are you getting through this dear

The fox, full of all kinds of arrogance, looked at the cat from head to foot, and for a long time did not know whether he would give any answer or not. At last he said, "Oh, you wretched whisker-cleaner, you piebald fool, you hungry mouse-hunter, what can you be thinking of? Do you venture to ask how I am getting on? What have you learnt? How many arts do you understand? "

  "I understand but one," replied the cat, modestly.

"What art is that?" asked the fox.

"When the hounds are following me, I can spring into a tree and save myself."

"Is that all?" said the fox. "I am master of a hundred arts, and also have a sackful of cunning. You make me sorry for you; come with me, I will teach you how people get away from the hounds. " 

Just then came a hunter with four dogs. The cat sprang nimbly up a tree, and sat down on top of it, where the branches and foliage quite concealed her. "Open your sack of cunning, Mr. Fox, open your sack," cried the cat to him, but the dogs had already seized him, and were holding him fast. "Ah, Mr. Fox," cried the cat. "You with your hundred arts are left in the lurch! Had you been able to climb like me, you would not have lost your life."[i]

This is a great little story. And how accurately does it convey the danger of arrogance. We human beings can often think we have things so worked out, that we are in control, that nothing can overcome us and overturn us. And then out of the blue comes something that we did not account for and it tumbles us right over.

And praise God that this does happen to us from time to time, because this shows us that God loves us, “My son, do not despise the Lord's discipline or be weary of his reproof, 12 for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights” (Prov. 3:12). If we were left in our arrogance, we would become like the devil, only even more pitiable, because of our lack of any supernatural ability. So it is good for us to learn when God is humbling us just how much everything we have, are and do, is from him.

However, there are some people who do not listen to the warning not to be arrogant, and to those people they need to hear again and again this warning, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall (Prov. 16:18). The Devil faces a big fall, and so do those who follow in his footsteps. The fox is a little warning to us, that when things are going well, to not become to enamoured with our own abilities, intelligence, or achievements, that we forget where they are from. Because but for the grace of God we would have none of them. They are a good thing to be thankful for, but never something to brag about.

Be careful not to be arrogant, so you don’t end up like the fox.

[i] Grimm’s Complete Fairy Tales, Brothers Grimm, Canterbury Classics, pp275

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