What kind of a boy was little Jack Horner? You remember that nursery favorite, don’t you?
Little Jack Horner sat in a corner eating a pudding pie. He put in his thumb, pulled out a plum, and said, “What a good boy am I!”
Recently I heard someone posing a few penetrating questions about little Jack. Why was Jack sitting in the corner in the first place? How did Jack get a whole pudding pie all to himself? Why did he stick his thumb into the pie? What kind of behavior is that? Maybe his actions reveal why he was relegated to sitting in the corner to begin with.
If you learned this little rhyme as I did, you probably were taught the accompanying lesson: Don’t think you’ve accomplished something special just because you make an accidental discovery.
I’m often reminded of this life lesson when I speak. I’m mindful that someone, usually a team of people, has spent much time in planning the event. I think of the days invested in prayer that have led up to the occasion. Normally there are decorations, music, delicious food, and other special arrangements. By the time I’m introduced to speak we’ve already enjoyed a tremendous evening! Hundreds of hours of careful preparation have gone into the night before I even approach the podium. Candidly, I often pray my time will enhance, not detract from the atmosphere.
In 1 Corinthians 3: 6–9a, Paul reminds us it takes teamwork to do God’s work:
“I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth. Now he who plants and he who waters are one; but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers.”
The next time you find yourself tempted to take credit for something for which a team is mainly responsible, remind yourself of little Jack Horner and of how silly he looked sitting there with that plum on his thumb!