Vol.IV No.III Pg.8
May 1967

Stuff About Things

Robert F. Turner

A soldier boy (from corn country) told a certain west-coast preacher: "I like your preaching better than any preaching I ever heered."

So pleased he couldn't let well enough alone, the preacher pressed for details. "Just what was it about my preaching that you liked?"

"Well," the boy replied, "I don't like no preaching a'tall, but your preaching is the nearest to my kind of preaching I ever heered." Now it's enough to give a feller the thumps.

I suppose everyone gets "taken down a notch" now and then, but vanity makes the fall a hard one. There are plenty of vain preachers; stuffed toads who think their pronouncements are treasured like jewels of a Maharaja. If they have an ounce of sense they will not ask the members what they preached last Lord's Day.

But vanity doesn't stop with the preachers. The "know it all" doctor, the "don't cross me" judge, the small town beauty queen, the lineman who thinks he is an electrical genius -- most folk know the type, and laugh up their sleeves at their antics. Maybe in our Walter Mitty moments we all have a touch of this heady spirit and imagine we are something special. We get carried away with our dreams, and begin to see ourselves as we somehow intended to be.

Dreams are necessary for advancement; and pity the man who has lost his self-respect -- who sees himself as utterly worthless. He likely will be. But he must have something more than vain (empty) dreams for a foundation. Ah yes, and building that real foundation will cure vanity.

Put the "know it all" to work, in a pond big enough to test his powers. Challenge his knowledge with the vast unknown, and let him seek his place among giants. If he will really study his field, quit fooling around on the surface and reach for the depths, he will begin to deflate. When he does not know, and knows he does not know, he is a student. Teach him.

The rest of the proverb is interesting. If he knows, and does not know he knows, he is asleep. Awaken him.

But there is more. If he does not know, and does not know he does not know, he is a fool. Avoid him.