34 Surely He scorns the scornful, But gives grace to the humble.Proverbs 3:34 (NKJV)
By Bro. John L. Cash, “Country Preacher Dad”
The coolest thing in the world is when a person is completely comfortable in his own skin. And for some reason, when we possess that quality others are attracted to us.
You know what I’m talking about. You see it in the thalidomide victim who is a dynamic school teacher. You see it in the cancer patient who wears a bright red cap. You see it in the less-than-beautiful girl whose vibrant personality, loving manner, and sense of style combine to make her a knock-out at the wedding.
I haven’t reached the point where I want to be yet, but as each day passes I become more and more comfortable in my own skin. I think part of that has to do with being 50 years old. By the time you turn 50 you’ve lived long enough to work out some of the issues that you developed when you were in the 8th grade.
When you’re in junior high school, the world is divided into two groups: “The Beautiful People” and “The Wormy Kids With Bad Haircuts.” (Guess which category I fell into.) Even if you are in the better category, when you’re a teenager you may not even realize it. I recently was talking to a friend from high school who was a couple of grades ahead of me.
I said, “I envied you so much. You were one of the cool people.” She replied, “I didn’t think of myself as one of the cool people then, and I still don’t now. Back then I was ‘awash in a sea of cheerleaders.’” It’s a sad reality of life; most people don’t feel comfortable with the things they have or being who they are.
My wife Susan isn’t 50 yet, but I think she is progressively getting more comfortable in her own skin, too. When we were first married, she felt like she had to wax the ceilings and polish the toilets if anybody was coming to the house to visit.
But not too long ago, as we were awaiting the arrival of some “important” company, I noticed that she had given the house her usual thorough “Saturday cleaning” but really wasn’t panicking about doing anything over-the-top. I asked her what had brought about this change. She shrugged her shoulders. “We’re clean people,” she replied. “We vacuum the floors, wear clean clothes, and we’re clean-living, too. I don’t guess we really have to apologize to anybody.” (That’s another one of the 8 million reasons I’m still in love with her.)
One of my heroes in the faith who embodied this attitude was William Carey. He was an English Baptist missionary who lived back in the late 1700’s, and he is known as “the father of modern missions.” Dr. Carey had grown up in poverty and desired to be a missionary during a time when being in such a ministry required financial wherewithal and political pull.
While attending a state dinner, one of the prominent guests sought to shame him by pointing out the young missionary’s humble beginnings. “Brother Carey,” he said in a voice that everyone in the room could hear, “is it not true that you were once a shoemaker?” With great humility, the man of God kindly replied, “No sir, that is not true. I was never that skilled. I was only a cobbler — a shoe repairman.”
By the grace of God (or sometimes in spite of it) we all are what we are. We all have our share of faults. And if there is anything good in us, well, it’s only there because Jesus put it there. Let’s accept who we are and what the Lord has given us, even as we strive to follow Him more faithfully. God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.
Dr. John L. Cash is the “Country Preacher Dad.” He was raised in Stuttgart, Arkansas, and has spent the last 27 years being a country preacher in the piney woods five miles south of the little town of Hickory, Mississippi. (On week days has a desk-job at a public school and teaches Latin on closed-circuit-television.) He and his lovely wife, Susan, live in the parsonage next door to the Antioch Christian Church (where the folks don’t see the need to “put on airs”). The Cashes have two sons, Spencer (age 21), and Seth (age 18), who live in the parsonage, too, except when they are away at college. He would love to hear from you in an email sent to email@example.com.