Keith Wishum: Proud to be a post turtle

Published 10:00 am Sunday, January 11, 2015

Discussing politics over checkers on the town square, an elderly gentleman recently referred to the president as a post turtle. His checker opponent, being relatively new to the small town life, didn’t understand what a post turtle is, and asked for an explanation.

“Well, it’s like this,” the old man said. “If you were driving along a country road and you happened upon a turtle balanced on top of a fence post, that would be a post turtle. And you would immediately know he didn’t climb up there by himself.

I agree that the president (both current and former) is a post turtle. We all are.

Do you have a good job? If so, did you get where you are by yourself, or did those who raised you and those who taught you help you? Are you proud of that college degree? Great, but who helped you pay for it? If you worked your way through, you are still indebted to someone for the job opportunities that were available to you.

Or maybe your accomplishments have been athletic. It might be tempting to think you achieved what you did through your own talent and hard work. But what of the coaches who helped you along the way? Didn’t they help put you on that post? And who gave you the physical ability?

In fact, who provided you with the brains, the brawn or the beauty to do anything at which you may have succeeded? If you have done well because you are smart, who gave you the intelligence? If you have worked hard physically, who gave you the body and the health? If you have been well-received because you are attractive, who created you that way?

Paul, the apostle, was highly successful. As a preacher, he converted thousands. As a writer, he penned books still read and followed 2,000 years after his death. As a leader, he helped expand a fledgling movement from tiny Palestine throughout the Roman Empire.

Yet, Paul knew he didn’t get on that post by himself. “By the grace of God I am what I am,” he acknowledged (1 Corinthians 15: 10). His success was an undeserved favor from God.

All success is. If we are ever found at some elevated post in life, it will not be of our own doing, but by the grace of God. May we thank the One who lifts us up!

Keith Wishum is minister, Williams Road Church of Christ, Americus.