She’s a self-made millionaire. He’s a self-made man. Self-made?
It starts early in many of us. When one of our kids was a toddler, she shied away from accepting our help with almost anything she was trying to do.
“I do it self!” she would say (quite emphatically).
Tempting, isn’t it? We’re much too socially conscious to say it out loud, but we’ve been tempted to think the same thing, with only a slight modification.
Maybe it’s success on the job, or a sizeable nest egg, or kids or grandkids we’re proud of.
“I did it (my)self!”
It’s part of the American dream, the pull-yourself-up-by-your-own-bootstraps mentality. With hard work and a little luck, you can accomplish anything you want.
I suppose there’s a fine line between being pleased with the outcome of your efforts and proudly patting yourself on the back.
But I know this is true: we need to avoid the self-congratulations energetically.
Just before the people of Israel took possession of the land of Canaan, God warned them:
Beware lest you say in your heart, “My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.” You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day (Deuteronomy 8:17-18).
God knew they would start looking at their success and forget where it came from.
Come to think of it, we are quite an accomplished army. It’s no wonder we’ve done well—we’re smart, talented, and resourceful.
“I do it myself!”, in other words.
God’s warning to them applies just as directly to us. Look around you—from what you’ve got to what you’ve done to who you are. All the good comes from God.
We need this reminder often, because a lot of folks—well-meaning, no doubt—will occasionally try to convince us that we’ve accomplished incredible things, we’re incredibly talented, we’re smart, successful, gifted.
Don’t fall into that trap.
Our power and our might didn’t get us where we are . . . God did it, and he deserves our gratitude.
To him be glory for all he’s done.