I have written before about the prevalent attitude of entitlement. Hand in hand with this is the obsession with fame, glory, and celebrity. Society revels in the Kardashians, “reality” champions, and X Y Zs that “Got Talent.” If we are honest, “Look, they are winners!” and “Look what they achieved;” comments often belie the true desire to be so recognised ourselves.
People often see all gains in life as the result of human effort: “I earned a promotion,” and “Look what I did.” It is bad enough to hear my students say such things like “We won the match,” when not one of them was on the field, much less even on the team. But such flippant self-congratulations are more than just mis-speaking, they are a form of vanity. To be fair, I have done (and do) this as well. But, are we giving credit where credit is due?
It is refreshing, and informative therefore that in Psalm 44 we find a reality check,
“We have heard it with our ears, O God; our ancestors have told us
what you did in their days, in days long ago. With your hand you drove out the nations and planted our ancestors;
you crushed the peoples and made our ancestors flourish. It was not by their sword that they won the land, nor did their arm bring them victory;
it was your right hand, your arm, and the light of your face, for you loved them (verses 1-3).”
The Psalmist rightly notes two key facts. The first, is that they listened to a true testimony (wow, they listened to their elders, teachers, and priests). But more importantly, they acknowledged that blessing, and accomplishments were in the hands of God.
In Evan Almighty there is a scene when Evan prays, thanking God for what had been provided. Good start. He goes one to thank God for his home, but lapses into the “Kardashian” attitude of “but I picked it out.” Me, Myself, and I; not Thee, Thou, and Thine.
As we look at “what I have done,” let us keep some perspective. Yes, we have made effort. Yes, we have accomplished tasks. But the blessing is from the Lord. Even the very talents, skills, beauty, intelligence, etc. that enabled such accomplishments came from Him. There is no such thing as a “self-made man (woman).”
Let us be hesitant to say “Look at what I did,” and be readily prepared to note “What He has done.” Let’s give credit where credit is due.