Harry Emerson Fosdick once commented "Life is a landscaping job. We are handed a site, ample or small, rugged or flat, picturesque or commonplace, whose general outlines and contours are largely determined for us." Essentially, Fosdick was using this as a word picture suggesting the basic circumstances we encounter in life are often beyond our control.
In one of his many movies, Clint Eastwood delivered this memorable line: "A man has got to know his limitations." Indeed, as humans, we all have shortcomings, faults, and flaws that certainly may be considered liabilities which prevent us from successfully confronting the many challenges of life. We all have a tendency to sit around and groan about our weaknesses, while looking at others who we believe are stronger and have more potential than us.
So how does the average, everyday Christian respond to these rather depressing philosophies?
First, an appropriate inventory of our individual worth is warranted. George Gallup, the famous pollster, did a study of self esteem. His findings were that people with high self-esteem are more successful, more satisfied, more willing to help others, hold themselves to a higher moral standard, have more satisfying relationships, are more productive, less affected by stress, healthier physically, and are more likely to see God as loving and forgiving. So it seems having a properly balanced level of self esteem is beneficial.
Now, the Bible informs us we are made in the “image of God’; that we are fearfully and wonderfully made by the Creator; and this same God valued us so much, he came to this earth and bore our shame and guilt all the way to the cross. If these truths straight from the Bible don’t boost your self esteem, I don’t know what will!
Second, although we indeed have to humbly acknowledge our shortcomings, we also know we do not confront life’s challenges alone. As God’s adopted children and joint heirs with Christ, we know we will not be forsaken, and we have the assurance that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.
Thus, as our trust is firmly placed in this loving, righteous, and sovereign God, we should not allow a spirit of pessimism to develop within our hearts because of the prevailing conditions presented to us by life, but should rather recognize them as an opportunity to be good and faithful stewards in our divinely appointed workplace.
Whatever you are facing, you can win through. It is not you, but Christ in you, the hope of glory. Happiness is found in a well-lived life. Live your life well, knowing that God can make up for any lack you may have.
God bless you! See you Sunday!