“Acknowledge that the Lord is God! He made us, and we are his. We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.” – Psalm 100:3.
“Self-made man” is a classic phrase coined on February 2, 1842 by Henry Clay in the United States Senate, to describe individuals whose success lay within the individuals themselves, not with outside conditions. But in reality, there is no such thing as a self-made individual. It’s a myth. The fact is we are all indebted to someone.
Think about this for a few moments: if you were to be stripped of all modern convenience, could you single-handedly reinvent things like the light bulb? Penicillin? The internet? Most of us can’t fully explain how this stuff works let alone be able to reinvent them. No; our greatest creative achievements are built on the achievements of others and all are utterly dependent on the world that God alone created.
We ought to thank God daily in our prayers for our great grandparents, grandparents, parents, brothers, sisters, teachers, pastors, coaches, fellow believers, the Body of Christ, the Church, our nation’s forefathers, the soldiers of our nation and so on. Who among us is not the product of the contributions and influences of others? The fact is no one can really call himself or herself self-made.
Any good thing in our lives is because of God’s goodness to us. We are more likely to make a mess of our lives. We caused most valleys in our lives. Every good thing was given to us by God.
Paul said it best: “…What do you have that God hasn’t given you? And if all you have is from God, why act as though you are so great, and as though you have accomplished something on your own?” (1 Corinthians 4:7 MSG) In his first letter to Timothy, Paul gives this young minister a warning to pass along to his congregation that is still relevant today. He says, “Teach those who are rich in this world not to be proud and not to trust in their money, which is so unreliable. Their trust should be in God, who richly gives us all we need for our enjoyment.” (1 Timothy 6:17)
Psalm 100:3 leaves no doubt about the order of life. God made us. We belong to God. He created us in the beginning. He shapes us all along. He will form us into His perfect image someday.
This is what the Lord said to Israel. But in an indirect and more general way, this applies to all mankind: “He did all this so you would never say to yourself, ‘I have achieved this wealth with my own strength and energy.’ 18 Remember the Lord your God. He is the one who gives you the power to be successful, in order to fulfill the covenant he confirmed to your ancestors with an oath.” (Deuteronomy 8:17-18)
It is God who has given us our minds and our hands to work with. So it is He who is ultimately deserving of all credit for our ability to work hard and prosper.
- Do you tend to be overly responsible and self-reliant? Or do you think everything is up to God and throw up your hands and do nothing?
- When we try to be a self-made individuals we tend to get stuck. Where are you stuck and what can we do this week to get unstuck.