Let Another Praise Thee

June, 1996

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"Let another man praise thee, and not thine own mouth; a stranger, and not thine own lips."  --Proverbs 27:2


George Burns was a very successful showman.  Christians should have been highly offended at his blasphemous portrayal of God, but Burns had the respect of the entertainment world.   We can learn from successful men, even if they appear to lack faith, for even Jesus said that the children of the world are wiser in their own generation than the children of light.


Many years ago, this writer watched a television interview with George Burns.   I can remember that the interview was humorous, irreverent, but jammed full of a great deal of worldly wisdom.  One of the things that Burns said stuck in my mind and I have thought of it many times:  "The audience finds the character."


There is much worldly wisdom in this.  Burns was saying that the audience decides what kind of character the comedian is.  The audience saw Gracie Allen as a dumb blonde, but innocent and good.  Burns said that the audience was offended if he even let his cigar smoke float down on Gracie.  He said that their act was successful because they went with the audience and let the audience decide the characters.


Jesus said something of the same thing, although certainly the wisdom of Burns cannot be compared with Christ, for Christ's wisdom is unto eternal life.  Jesus said,  “When you are invited to a feast, don't take the highest seat, but take the lower.”  If you rate yourself too high, you might be asked to go lower, and will be shamed.  But if you take the lower seat, then he who invited you may come and ask you to move upward, and then you will be honored. (Luke 14:7-11)


Many a person has spent his whole life trying to do something he could not do, because he refused to listen to others--he did not let the audience find the character.   If you are good at something, someone will notice, for a "man's gift makes room for him, and brings him before great men."  (Proverbs 18:16).


A man's gift is not what he perceives it to be, but what others perceive it to be.   A dear seminary professor years ago put it to our class:  "If you are truly called to the ministry, it should not come as a surprise to the church back home."

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Pastor Powell

Trinity Covenant RCUS

Colorado Springs, CO