Modesty Plays

The winter Olympics are going and I’m not watching. Not for any reason having to do with the Olympics, I’m just not set up to watch TV in my house and I’m not interested enough to find alternate means. But the Olympics have gotten me to thinking about competitions in general, and so they’ve come up when I’ve been talking with God.

But there are other competitions that I do pay attention to, and one of those is the Academy Awards. There’s been a lot made of the winner’s speeches for a number of years now, basically boiling down to making the winners keep it short so they can keep the ceremony down to a reasonable runtime while still being entertaining. One of the things that I’ve always enjoyed about the Oscars is that the Academy winners don’t tend to spend a lot of time thanking God and Jesus for everything in their lives, like professional athletes tend to do. That may or may not be because they’re trying to keep it short, but either way, I appreciate it.

What God did point out to me is that the people who thank Jesus for their success a lot of the time are doing it because they think it portrays humility. They think it’s modest to credit their accomplishments to someone other than themselves. Here’s the thing about that though, it’s hogwash. God doesn’t take sides in our petty little competitions and she wants you to know that by trying to give her credit, you’re saying to all the other equally deserving, hard working individuals that still haven’t been able to make it, that their sacrifices just weren’t good enough, that their faith just wasn’t strong enough. It’s unthinking at best and at it’s worst it’s downright mean.

So just for the record, you can still be humble, and you can still be modest, without having God to pin your success on. Just admit that even though you worked hard and put in the hours of effort and sacrifice, you know that there was still a lot of luck involved in getting you where you are. And if you’re someone like a recent U.S. President, someone who, as they say, was born on third base but thinks he hit a triple, well, one of the hardest things for you to actually accomplish just may be some real modesty. Try putting some effort into that.

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