Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The $99,000 Answer

1 Corinthians 8:2
Those who think they know something do not yet know as they ought to know.

In the classic "Honeymooners'" episode, "The $99,000 Answer", blow-hard Ralph Kramden chooses the category of Popular Songs to compete in the show.

He tells his wife, Alice, "I know all about popular songs!"

She retorts, "But, Ralph, you're not an expert."

"What do you mean, I'm not an expert?"  He argues.

And, with only a week to prepare for the show, Ralph announces that he is going to buy sheet music, records and rent a piano for his buddy, Ed Norton, to play so he can practice, practice, practice.

"But, Ralph," Alice counters, "that will cost us a fortune!  It'll take every penny we have saved!  We won't have one cent left in the bank!"

Ralph replies cockily, "And, when the smoke clears, we'll have $99,000."

Faithfully, every night for a week, Ralph and Norton practice together.  Things are looking up for Ralph as he rattles off hundreds of tunes and their composers without a hitch.

But, there is a catch . . .

Before getting to the meat of a piece, Norton has the irritating habit of playing a snippet of "Way Down Upon the Suwanee River" by Stephen Foster as an introduction.

Ralph never thinks to ask the name of this tune, much less the composer.

Swaggering confidently onto the stage and brazenly announcing he will be going for the $99,000, Ralph is poised for his first question.

"Listen to this tune, Mr. Kramden, and tell me the composer!"  The host booms.

The unmistakable strains of "Suwanee River" fill the air.

In those few miserable seconds, all the wind is knocked out of Ralph's sail.

Humiliated, he answers weakly, "Ed Norton?"

Poor Ralph!

Foiled, yet again, by his know-it-all bravado.

For pride goes ever before the fall . . .
Have you encountered a "know-it-all" in your life?

Will you pray with me?
Make us ever mindful, Father, that any knowledge we have is a gift from You.  Keep us humble in what we know and willing to learn more as we live and grow in Your love.  Thank you for Your forgiveness when our pride gets the best of us.  Amen.

Psalms 119:97-120 or 81, 82
Genesis 45:16-28
1 Corinthians 8:1-13
Mark 6:13-29  


  1. Great story and lesson Martha! LOL...I have, a couple of times ;)

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Nelieta!
      Glad you liked the story and the lesson that all of us need to learn from time to time. :)
      Blessings to you!

  2. A tale that shows how life has a way of teaching us humility! May we always know that there is more that we don't know than what we do and have the capacity to learn and grow.

    1. Thanks, Jessica, for stopping by!
      It is so true that those who think they know it all know so very little. There is always something to learn as we grow, and we can never hope to know everything.
      Blessings to you!

  3. Oh the pains of learning our lessons sometimes. It's a bog ouch to our ego...but sometimes, we're just too sure of ourselves.

    I'm also like this most of the times. I fail to listen and obey to the Spirit's promptings and fall hard.

    I am always praying with you Martha.I do ask for forgiveness to the Father whenever I feel like I could stand on my own without Him.

    Thanks for this reflection. It's a great reminder.

    1. Oh, Melissa, I've been there and done that - being too sure of myself and only to fall all the harder. It took me years to truly trust in Him and to remember I can do nothing on my own.
      There are those times I slip up, just like Ralph. We all do. And, that is the time to go to our Father for forgiveness.
      Thanks so much for your wonderful comment and for taking the time to stop by.
      Blessings ever and always!


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