John Ward

My family and I live alongside Highway 25 South of Becker, and we get a regular dumping of litter along our share of the roadside that varies from fast food wrappers to whiskey bottles to road kill.

I picked up a handful of paper the other day when coming home for lunch but didn’t have a bag handy to store it. I dropped the stuff into the back of my truck with plans to transfer it to the garbage can at the carport a couple of 100 feet away.

Architects have an expression they use to vaunt their contributions to the landscape, saying that it fosters “pride of place.”

My participation in planning churches throughout the years gave me a good feeling when I would notice the ripple effects of the project throughout the neighborhood when people would fix up their houses in response. There have even been instances when other churches borrowed details for window treatments and yard signs to update their properties.

I must confess that “pride of place” degenerated into a little “pride of person” mentality for me as I picked up the litter on my property. It was a gesture of stewardship that I allowed to affect me in a less than positive way.

There’s a fine line between self-esteem and this pride of person attitude. A little self-esteem is healthy, whereas pride “goes before a fall,” to quote the wise man Solomon.

I was feeling proud about myself trying to do my share to preserve pride of place until I was driving along the bypass back toward town about an hour later, wondering what I was seeing in the mirror blowing out of the back of my truck.

I was immediately cut back down to size when I realized that I had so quickly forgotten to complete my stewardship chore and consequently was now redistributing the same litter from one roadside to another.

Thankfully, more of the litter remained in the truck bed than what had been sucked out by the backdraft from oncoming trucks. I don’t know that the experience will help me to get any better organized while trying to multi-task, but it did remind me that I need to be careful about overestimating myself as I gratefully receive accolades for the efforts credited to me.

Solomon moreover said, “With humility and the fear of the Lord come riches and honor and life” (Proverbs 22:4).

An argument could be made that Solomon’s riches and honor may have become his downfall as he accumulated a harem of 1,000 women while pursuing his fantasies for love and diplomacy, but that’s the subject of another discussion altogether.

John Ward is a staff writer for the Monroe Journal. He can be reached at

Recommended for you

comments powered by Disqus