Tuesday, July 13, 2010
"If" by Rudyard Kipling (Part 9)
I love the poem "If" by Rudyard Kipling . . . thirty-two lines of wisdom that provide possibly the best instruction in manliness (why not womanliness, too?) written by a father to his son. The father concludes that if his son will assimilate this good advice into his conduct, then
"Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!"
The next four lines of this remarkable poem are these:
"If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;"
Ever notice how many famous people, Christians as well as secular, lose their virtue along the way? Or how many media personalities have sunk under the weight of adulation? Or how many political leaders have sold out to lobbyists in order to maintain their power? It's a rare person who manages to retain his principles and his virtue when examined under the microscope of popularity.
Similarly, a man (or woman) can lose his balance as well as his effectiveness when he becomes thin-skinned. A man (or woman) of principle, one who can claim "the earth and everything that's in it," is one who does not find his significance in temporal relationships where foes and loving friends can hurt him. Rather, he finds his significance in the unchanging Lord of the universe.
The one who keeps God as his North star will, naturally, value all men because all men are made in the image of God. But he will not over-value men because he realizes that all men (and women) have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Rather, he will keep his eyes on God and follow wherever He leads.