August 8, 2022
By Karen Hunt
Recently, I took my son to a jewelry store to buy a signet ring that he wanted instead of a class ring. We went to an expensive jewelry store to shop for one, thinking we would get great service, but the saleswoman wasn’t familiar with signet rings. I was frustrated. I felt my time was wasted. How could someone so ignorant work in a supposedly higher-end store, I thought. I realized how judgmental I was, and I felt ashamed. Maybe she had been poorly trained. Perhaps she was new. Should I really be proud of my knowledge of jewelry?
This experience got me thinking about my own knowledge and talents. When I look back at my accomplishments and knowledge, I realize that very little had to do with me personally. My talents were God-given. I remember being naturally good at things without any previous training. My opportunities, even the ones that I had to search for, came because I lived where I had those options. From my opportunities and talent, I developed a knack for research, and, as a stay at home mom, I had time to research signet rings.
Humans have a real knack for taking credit for what really isn’t theirs. Take a look at Hezekiah, king of Judah. When Hezekiah was very ill, he prayed to the Lord, who directed the prophet Isaiah to make medicine to heal him. After his amazing recovery, he received visitors. The son of the king of Babylon came to visit; Hezekiah came with his officials.
“Hezekiah received the envoys gladly and showed them what was in his storehouse–the silver, the gold, the spices, the fine oil, his entire armory and everything found among his treasures. There was nothing in his palace or in all of his kingdom that Hezekiah did not show them.”Isaiah 39:2 NIV
Isaiah–and God–were not happy about Hezekiah showing his wealth to foreign visitors. Hezekiah did not talk about his gratitude to God for being healed, he did not take him to worship to God, nor did he introduce Isaiah. He did not talk about the God that had him and his fathers accumulate his treasure. Instead, he acted as if he had no relationship with the living God.
After Hezekiah told Isaiah what had happened during the visit, Isaiah pronounced God’s judgment that would come on his descendents.
“‘The time will surely come when everything in your palace, and all that your fathers have stored up until this day, will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left,’ says the Lord.”Isaiah 39:6 NIV
What an ending! When I read Hezekiah’s story, it reminds me that we cannot boast in our possessions, or in our careers, or that our child was accepted to a competitive college. We can’t even boast really about our own talents, which were God-given, and developed by the opportunities given to us by God. Let us give credit to who really deserves it: God.
Photo Credit: Nathan Dumlao