The Lucifer Syndrome

by Dave Hanks

Some people, who seem bright enough, are stupid. I’ve had “A” students in my science classes who appear to be smart. Yet when it comes to those things that are really inportant, figuratively speaking, they don’t know where the “sun comes up or where it sets”!

Lucifer is this way. As I learn about all the things he has done in relation to the great master plan, all I can conclude is that he is not too smart. In the pre-existence two individuals volunteered to come to earth to do a job that had to be done. Christ was unconcerned with what he would personally get out of it. It was enough that the job was necessary and the right thing to do. Lucifer, however, had a big “hang-up” on “what’s in it for me?” He wanted glory so much that when it was denied he rebelled.

Christ didn’t seek or require glory. But now that his purpose is fulfilled, it is evident that he did receive glory after all – lots of it! This is one instance that shows Lucifer to be stupid. A smart individual would have realized that benefits always come to those who unselfishly do the “right thing” – benefits never being a concern. The failure to see this fact is what I call “The Lucifer Syndrome”. One of the lessons that everyone should learn from life.

As a high school football player, I was a fullback. For three years I played this coveted position. A position desired by many because of the opportunity to carry the ball. Besides, the ball handlers were the ones who received the acclaim – not “big, dumb” linemen. I grew considerably between my junior and senior years and to my dismay, was switched from the backfield to the line.

After time had eased the pain of the change, I discovered that things were not bad. I enjoyed the body contact of football and as a lineman I had it on every play. In fact, offensive linemen seek contact. Other positions try to avoid it and on many plays are merely decoys. A year in the new role proved another fact. I had forgotten about the glory side of the sport and did it for the inner satisfaction that I “milked” from it. But “Lo and Behold”, I was suddenly getting acclaim. I hadn’t sought it but it was coming to me anyway. I had learned a lesson from life: “The Lucifer Syndrome”.

The event that prompted the writing of this essay was a sophomore Biology field trip. The trip was held on a Saturday. A non-school day was necessary because three classes were involved. Seventy- five students are too many to put on a school bus or to supervise in the field. All year long they had “badgered” me to go bird watching and this was the only way that it could be done. As the date drew near, many asked if they would receive a grade cut for not going. I told them no ( and I didn’t ). Also, many asked if they would get extra credit for going. I could not reveal my intentions for that would have foiled my purpose; so I told them that the enjoyment of going should suffice – after all they had wanted the trip. It was my plan to reward those who went later by raising their grades.

Well Saturday morning arrived but only four of the seventy-five showed up. These four were rewarded with an “A” for the term. The rest, who could have come but didn’t because it was a Saturday, were upset because they didn’t reap the benefits. They would not do what was proper to do unless sufficient incentives were proffered. How stupid of them! The Lucifer Syndrome had struck again.

A lesson in life to be learned: those that constantly cry for rewards, usually get only the minimal; but those that do what must be done because it needs to be done, will benefit.

MORAL: Doing the right thing without any mind for acclaim, or any other form of payment – that action will always result in something very positive. The result is sometimes slow in coming but it always does!


Bullock’s Oriole: A frequently seen species on field trips

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