Pride is a sin. All blessings are from the Lord. Therefore, Neil Armstrong, Martin Luther King, and Elon Musk have nothing to be proud of. They had no role to play in their success. They are recipients of God's blessing-lottery. After all you are either blessed or you aren't. Right?
Pride: deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one's own achievements.
Biblical scholars such as St. Augustine tells us that "pride is the beginning of sin" and christian blogs tell us that the "sin of pride" is the "sin of sins". It, after all, was the sin that gave birth to the Devil himself. However to dismiss pride outright, is to ignore the duality Pride.
Accomplishments (and the love of them) are a mixture of two factors:
"drive" and "ability".
Ability (health, talent, connections, and context) are all blessings from God. Some people are blessed with high IQs or athletic ability. Some are born into a world of connections and abundance. Others are born sickly and into a world of scarcity. No pride can be taken in these things - to do so would be to ignore the giver of the gift.
But ability alone does not make one a success. History is littered with promising young minds whose lives ended in disaster. How many of God's children have been lost to drugs and other self destructive tendencies. Winning the blessings-lottery does not guarantee one anything. You have an important part to play in your story.
You must provide the drive.
Perhaps we see this best illustrated in the parable of the talents Matthew 25:14-30. A master gave each of his three servants five, two, and one bags of gold. The servants with five and two bags invested the gold and on the master's return paid him two fold. The servant who was given one bag of gold did nothing with the gold. When the master returned he presented him only the one bag of gold he was given. Upon seeing this the master replied to the one-bag servant, "You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap not where I have not sown, and gather not where I have not scattered seed."
The five and two bag servants demonstrated drive. Drive is a key factor is accomplishment. While the servants could not take pride in the original bags of gold (they were gifts not earned by them), they could take pride in the work they did to provide a return on the master's money. The one-bag servant could take pride in nothing (neither the gift or his efforts).
Drive can be biblically defined as
"[fighting] the good fight, [finishing] the race, [keeping] the faith"
2 Timothy 4:7.
Neil Armstrong can take pride in showing up everyday even when he was working 16-hour days and, in 1967, watched as three fellow astronauts died in a fire while still on the launch pad. He kept the faith and fought the fight until July 20th 1969 when he was the first man to set foot on the moon. Elon musk can take pride in keeping the faith; funding Tesla out of his own pocket - to the point of personal bankruptcy. Martin Luther King ran the race unto the very end when he was assassinated on April 4, 1968. His last words to musician Ben Branch, "make sure you play 'Take My Hand, Precious Lord' in the meeting tonight. Play it real pretty."
These men along with a host of others can take pride in fighting the fight, running the race, and keeping the faith. However, they must recognize the giver of the gifts on which they have made (and are making) a significant return. It is only with this mix of humility can pride be express without sin.
It is my hope and the hope of the Seventeentwenty.org staff that you will hear your Lord and Savor say "Well done, my good and faithful servant" Matthew 25:21 and in the hearing take great pride in a race well run. If you are struggling to find the drive and make the most of the talents God has given you please consider enrolling in our program.