Through my life, I noticed that most of us, myself included, like to boast about what we are good at. I have been wondering lately why we boast about ourselves instead of about those who help us get there…
Perhaps it dates back to when we were in school. Teachers openly recognize certain students for doing a great job. These students receive certificates in front of all the students body. Parents also tend to recognize their own children for what they are good at, and eventually bragging sets the norm.
I know that I have fallen right into this trap. While I lived in Tucson, I was working for a financial institution. My initial goal was to help people in all walks of life achieve their dreams. Within weeks, however, I was focussing only on those who actually had money to invest: the rich! And? I did quite well. Even my boss was pleased with my sales.
Truly, however, I was not happy. I was always on the run, I was so busy that I had hardly any time to spend with my wife, and work even invaded my dreams.
One day my boss invited me to a lovely restaurant. He had good news. He was offering me the opportunity to manage my own office, with financial planners under me.
I thanked him and told him that I also had some news. I was leaving for Canada to go back to teaching. He looked at me, astonished: “If you do that, you’ll never become rich!”
What he didn’t understand was that I was not there for money, I was here to make a difference in the lives of others.
I have to admit that at that time I often succumbed to the temptation to boast about my success as well, ever forgetting that it was only by the grace of God that I had anything to boast about! After all, others boasted about my success, why shouldn’t I? Still, boasting never made me happy. What makes me happy is to encourage others rather than putting myself first.
It is interesting that most people don’t like people who brag. All this boasting about oneself leads to animosity, and that can hurt…
I have learned a lot from Paul. I love what he wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit: “If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.” (2 For 11:30, NIV)
I agree with Paul. When we boast about our own accomplishments, we are, in essence, trying to put ourselves above God. It is through our weaknesses that we can glorify our Heavenly Father. He is the One who created our every detail.
How would you feel if you reach out to your son and teach him how to ride a bike, but within days that son is boasting about how good he is, how much better than anyone else? Who taught him to ride? You did, and you deserve some credit. How much better would it have been if he said instead, “Dad, thank you so much for spending time with me to show how to ride a bike. You are the best!” And then turned to others and said, everything I know about riding a bike I learned from my dad!”
“I will not boast about myself, except about my weaknesses.” (2 Cor 12:5b, NIV)
“Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ or May rest on me. That’s why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when U an week, then I am strong.” (1 Cor 12: 9-10, NIV)
Don’t forget that: “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” Proverbs 11:2, (NIV)
Pride or humility. Which one will you chase after?