A Barrel Full of Pride

The early twentieth century had an abundance of colorful characters. One was Bobby Leach, a circus performer turned stuntman. He gained worldwide fame on July 25, 1911 when he became the first man to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel. His trip over the falls resulted in a six-month hospital stay. He was able to turn a small financial profit after his recovery. He took his barrel on tours and entertained crowds with stories of his famous but frightful plunge. To keep his fame alive, he attempted several other daredevil feats in the Niagara River which failed. His stories those feats grew larger with the passing of years. He came to carry himself as if he were indestructible.

That came to an end in New Zealand fourteen years later when he was parading down a street knowing he was on public display. More aware the people watching him, he failed to be aware of the street. He slipped on an orange peel injuring his leg. The leg became infected with gangrene and was eventually amputated. Complications from the surgery resulted in his death two months later.

Leach survived the plunge over Niagara Falls but died from stepping on an orange peel. Neither fame nor pride isolates people from common hazards of life.

On the contrary, pride and conceit can bring them on quicker. Proverbs often cautions us against pride. “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall,” (16:18). “A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honor shall uphold the humble in spirit,” (29:23).

It is good to have a proper perspective of our self before both God and man. Saint Paul tells the Philippians, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others,” (Phil. 2:3).

Let us also remember that no one standing in front of God’s judgment will ever boast of his accomplishment. Our only effective boast will be in what the Lord Jesus Christ has done for us. The only thing that can save us is our belief in Him.

Don’t allow self-pride to keep you from repentance of your sin and turning to Jesus.

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