Pastor Jim Jackson
Richmond Hill Presbyterian Church
Lester is a friend of many years. He’s got a saying that I’ve discovered worthy of some thought. Lester is something of a country philosopher and, sometimes, worth quoting.
Whenever he’s making complimentary remarks about himself, he’s often heard to say, likely feeling a tinge of guilt: “It’s a sorry dog that won’t wag his own tail.” Whether he was talking about fishing, well drilling or leading music in his church, he expressed confidence in himself. He doesn’t say he’s the greatest, but he does believe his skills are commendable, even if the compliments must come from himself.
If we are talking about healthy self-esteem here. I’ll say: “Amen.” And why not?
We are all God’s gracious gift to ourselves. And as I once heard: “God don’t make no junk.” Not the best grammar, but there’s truth here. It’s only right that we take joy in our personal assets. No one is without them. Is this compatible with humility? you bet.
There’s another side to the equation that gives balance to who we are and to our accomplishments. We are proud of our special gifts, but we know we aren’t perfect. I appreciate what I once heard: “Be patient with me: God ain’t finished with me yet.”
Perhaps the best example of what I’m trying to say can be seen in the words of the Apostle Paul. He wrote in I Timothy: “Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.”
Well, that’s a bit of hyperbole these days, but he certainly had sinned greatly, perhaps more than any of my readers, for he had been a partner in Stephen’s death.
He was neither proud of that nor presumptive of God’s grace and forgiveness.
Please, one more quote: “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all; yet not I but the grace of God which was with me” (I Corinthians 15:10).
Imperfect, we all are. But God in Christ came to save sinners like you and me.
We have plenty of need for grace and forgiveness, but we have done some good too, even excelled in a few. Good reason here for celebrating our accomplishments. True: “It’s a sorry dog that doesn’t wag his own tail.” Claim all of God’s gifts, then look the world in the face. Doggone it!