"I AM WHAT I AM"
by Wayne S. Walker
Jesus quoted the Psalmist when He said, "Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise" (Matthew 21:16). The point our Lord was making was that praise for God may come from the most unexpected sources. Being a native of Southern Ohio, I have always kept up with the Cincinnati Reds. Following the fifth game of the 1975 World Series, which the Reds won, there was a short interview with the winning pitcher, Don Gullett. When asked for a comment about the game, the promising young left hander said that he must first thank his Maker for giving him the ability to get out there and participate. I do not know the religious background or persuasion of this twenty-four year old athlete, but it is certainly commendable in this day when Madeline Murray O’Hair wants to censure any public profession of faith in God, that someone in the public eye has the courage to declare his belief in a heavenly Father.
Paul expressed an attitude similar to this in 1 Corinthians 15:10. "By the grace of God I am what I am." Being an apostle of Christ or an excellent major league pitcher is definitely something to praise God for. But are the ordinary abilities of everyday life anything less to be thankful for? When a simple housewife is able to keep a house clean, manage a family, and serve tasty, nutritious meals day after day, year in and year out, is that not a gift from God? Is not the skill of a man to get out and make a living by managing a corporation, working as a foreman, laboring in a factory, or even digging ditches, ultimately traceable to the good Lord? Are not those whose minds are especially sharp so they may do well in their schooling blessed by the Father above? It is true that all these faculties must be developed by human exertion, but the potential was originally placed there by the Eternal One when He "created man in his own image" (Genesis 1:27). Even so seemingly an insignificant act as walking to the corner to drop a letter in the mailbox is entirely dependent upon the grace and power of Jehovah. These are just a few of the many capacities and activities that we so often take for granted.
Paul knew that the "God that made the world and all things therein…giveth to all life, and breath, and all things….For in him we live, and move, and have our being" (Acts 17:24-28). Nightly, every homemaker, breadwinner, student, gospel preacher–yea, every Christian who has a healthy body, a sound mind, and a happy life–should bend his knee, bow his head, and humble his heart in grateful thanksgiving to the Creator and Sustainer of all who has granted us such wonderful privileges. Many are not so fortunate, you know. No, I am not a chosen apostle, nor a famous baseball pitcher, nor even a well-known evangelist. But I do have many capabilities with which the Giver of every perfect gift has entrusted me, and of which I am a steward to use wisely in serving Him. May I also praise my Maker and seek to glorify Him in the life that I live. For, praise God, by His grace, "I am what I am." (—originally published in the Gospel Anchor; April, 1976; Vol. II, No. 8; p. 22)