During my second summer as the Director of DL, I was a very happy man. The staff had settled into their responsibilities, camper registrations were coming in daily – the pattern during those years as no section of any session was ever full. It looked like camper registrations would easily exceed the previous summers. Contributions were up.
I was standing in the sunshine, in front of Old Hardwood when a staff member walked up to me and said: “Chief, I just heard attendance at ______, was down.” This was the camp that had asked me to resign two years previously. I thought “When I was the Director of ______, there was a waiting list. Now that I am here, attendance is growing. I must be pretty good!” I also remember thinking “This is pride! – Not good!!! Yes, it was pride, but it was true!” Total time for this conversation with myself? Perhaps fifteen seconds.
At the summer DL Board meeting, always in the middle of Session III, I was asked where DL was financially, I had to admit, I did not know., This was about the only time I remember some of the Board members really got upset with me! “How could I be the Director of Deerfoot Lodge and not know where the organization was financially.”
When camp was over I quickly saw that camper registrations were up only 8 from the previous summer, and DL did not have any cash reserve to carry us until the next year’s registrations would begin – in about 6 months.
The light came on. I remembered my brief conversation with myself – pride! I could see on paper when camper registrations and contributions essentially stopped. As best I could tell, my pride cost Deerfoot about $35,000 – and a whole bunch of boys were denied two great weeks at The Lodge. I was so confident that the financial loss was the result of my pride, I thought I should get a mortgage on our house so I could contribute $35,000 to DL.
In preparation for the October DL Board meeting, a member asked me to come to his home. He asked how DL was doing. I told him my story, and what I planned to do. He smiled and told me that would not be necessary. He had the money needed to keep DL moving forward. He asked what was needed immediately. He then wrote a check to DL for the needed amount and said: “If DL needs additional funds, give me a call.” I was stunned!
At the October meeting, when I made my annual report, I told my story. I went on to say that I felt I had learned my lesson. Grove Rust responded: “there will be more!” Everyone laughed.
Seventy thousand men died in Israel as the direct result of King David’s pride. David turned from trusting God for his military victories to trusting the size of his army and he asked Joab, the commander of his army, to count his troops. Joab reminded King David that God’s direct involvement was the reason for Israel’s growth and military victories. David over-ruled Joab and the captains of the army. It took nine months and twenty days to count the soldiers: 800,000 valiant men.
“David was conscience-stricken after he had counted the fighting men, and he said to the LORD, “I have sinned greatly in what I have done. Now, O LORD, I beg you, take away the guilt of your servant. I have done a very foolish thing.” As the result of David’s pride, even after David asked for forgiveness, a plague came upon the people and 70,000 men died. II Samuel 24.