Thursday, June 25, 2009
Finding Our Self-Esteem
A story is told about William "Speedy" Morris, who was head coach at La Salle University from 1986 to 2001. As the story goes, during a year in which LaSalle was having a pretty good season, Coach Morris was shaving one morning when the phone rang. His wife answered it and called out to him that Sports Illustrated wanted to talk to him.
Coach Morris was excited that his team was apparently about to receive national recognition in this famous sports magazine. As a matter of fact, he was so excited that he cut himself with his razor.
Covered with blood and shaving lather and running downstairs to the phone, he tripped and fell down the stairs. Finally, bleeding and bruised, he made it to the phone and breathlessly said, "Hello"?
The voice on the other end asked, "Is this Speedy Morris"?
"Yes, yes!" he replied excitedly.
Then the voice continued, "Mr. Morris, for just seventy-five cents an issue, we can give you a one-year subscription to Sports Illustrated."
We are often disappointed to find out that someone else doesn’t think we are as important as we think they ought to! Paul had something to say about this:
“For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.” (Romans 12:3)
We’ve heard a lot in the past couple of decades about the importance of boosting the self-esteem of children in school, with the idea that getting rid of low self-esteem will help children to be happier and have better grades. And I fully appreciate the fact that some children (as well as some adults) do have poor self-esteem and view themselves as worthless, which is a bad thing. Paul doesn’t say that we need to have a poor view of ourselves, just that we need to have a “sober” or “sensible” view of ourselves.
But it seems to me that a bigger problem in our society is high self-esteem – people who think of themselves as more important than they truly are. Strangely enough, I don’t hear anyone talking about that problem! But Jesus did. He spoke a lot about the need to develop an attitude of humility, and he let us know that we find a right view of ourselves by seeing ourselves as servants. Jesus not only taught that view of self-esteem, but he demonstrated it.
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 2:5)
Father, help me to find my self-esteem in you. Because of your sacrifice on my behalf, I understand my great value in your eyes. But forgive me when I try to elevate myself over others around me who are equally as valuable. Help me to develop the humble attitude of a servant. In Jesus’ name, amen.