We who preach and write, do so in a manner different from which the Scriptures have been written. We write while we make progress. We learn something new every day. We speak as we still knock for understanding...If anyone criticizes me when I have said what is right, he does me an injustice. But I would be more angry with the one who praises me and takes what I have written for Gospel truth than I would be with the one who criticizes me unfairly. -Augustine


A Flattered Economy

In Aesop’s fable of the raven and fox, a raven sits high in a tree enjoying a piece of cheese. A fox approaches the tree and begins to compliment the raven on his fine feathers. The fox then begs the raven to sing to him. Flattered, the raven begins squawking to show off his voice, dropping the cheese. The crafty fox quickly snatches it up and runs off. This story illustrates flattery.

Everyone enjoys a compliment. But it’s easy to think too highly of ourselves when someone flatters us. I think the effects of flattery and self-exalting thoughts parallel what sometimes happens economically. Flattery leads to temporary inflation, which leads to a depressed state of productivity. Desiring to maintain our artificial elevation over others, we breathe in the words of vain praise until we are so filled with ourselves that we become like the Emperor and his new invisible clothes; walking through the streets naked–and yet with a sense of noble pride–we are viewed by others only with contempt.

In Proverbs 27:2 Solomon writes, “Let another praise you, and not your own mouth; a stranger, and not your own lips.” He continues this thought in verses 19-21 as he writes, “As in water face reflects face, so the heart of man reflects the man. Sheol and Abaddon arenever satisfied, andnever satisfied are the eyes of man. The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and a man is tested by his praise.”

Whatever talents we possess and accomplishments we’ve made, it is entirely because God has enabled us. God’s gifts are His investments to us–and He expects a profitable return! Don’t be easily distracted and flattered like the raven; instead, remember “Both riches and honor come from you, and you rule over all. In your hand are power and might, and in your hand it is to make great and to give strength to all. And now we thank you, our God, and
praise your glorious name” (I Chronicles 29:12,13).

Recommended Reading: John Ploughman’s Talk, by Charles Spurgeon

Published in: on August 27, 2011 at 12:38 am  Leave a Comment  

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