Vol.XV No.XI Pg.8
January 1979

Stuff About Things

Robert F. Turner

When I was a student in Freed- Hardeman College, the President of that institution was wont to say (in jest I trust), "He that tooteth not his own horn, the same shall not be tooted!" It brought a laugh from the many "preacher boys" — albeit a nervous laugh, for we were a "heady" bunch.

Maybe one of those boys was the chief character in a recent happening. Someone asked this (unnamed) preacher if he was the greatest preacher in the brotherhood. He said, "No, but I would have to be numbered among the top two; and I'm more humble than the other fellow."

My informant did not tell me of a retort, if there was one; but that remark deserved something like one given a certain sportscaster. He is reported to have asked another how many truly great sportscasters there were for today's football games, and the man replied, "I don't know the number, but there is one less than you think." Wow! That smarts!

And so it goes. We are repulsed by the fellow who "thinks more highly of himself than he ought to think" (Rom. 12:3). It is barely possible that his attitude is obnoxious because it is an indirect attack upon our status — whittling us down by the unwarranted elevation of himself. And how many of us have tried to measure how highly "we ought to think" (v. 3b)? "Soberly" suggests an unexaggerated, objective look at ourselves, "according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith;" but it does not require nor promote a loss of self-respect. God has dealt each one "a measure of faith," and each saint should be sufficiently aware of his "measure" to recognize his responsibilities. Our various capacities pose corresponding obligations. Let no one excuse his failure to serve the Lord under the guise of false modesty.

The egoist leads a self-centered life. His philosophy makes self-interest the valid end of all action. He must "justify himself" (Lu. 10:29) at whatever the cost. The self-sacrificing love of Christianity negates such an attitude as this. Christ did not undersell himself, but gladly gave himself for others (Jn. 8:28, 12:32). We also have a purpose and a God-given function to perform. We can not serve well with either an over — or an under-inflated concept of self. But a true look at self will make us aware of our need for Christ, saying, "Be merciful to me, a sinner!"