“And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another. For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?”1 Corinthians 4:6–7
Though he came from very humble beginnings, Abraham Lincoln worked diligently to better his life. Largely a self-taught man, Lincoln found great success as an attorney, particularly in the then-new field of railroad law, before his political rise to prominence. Even after he ascended to the highest office in the land, Lincoln maintained a healthy sense of humility. He was quite fond of the poem by Scottish poet William Knox that included these words:
Oh, why should the spirit of mortal be proud?
Like a swift-flitting meteor, a fast-flying cloud,
A flash of the lightning, a break of the wave,
He passes from life to his rest in the grave.
Our culture encourages boastful behavior. The bright spotlight of fame seems to follow those who are the most skilled at promoting their latest example of foolish and sinful living. Getting noticed and known has been an end to be pursued, not through accomplishment, but through self-promotion. At the root of this behavior is the sin of pride. Yet nothing we have done or accomplished merits such an attitude. James wrote, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17). As the provider of everything we use to produce all of our accomplishments, God is the one who deserves all of the praise and honor for everything we do.–Paul Chappell