To what extent are we as individuals, responsible for our own success? How much gratitude do we owe to our parents, family and friends? What about outside forces beyond our control?
As Moses takes leave from the children of Israel on the other side of the Jordan he shares his concerns for their future. Above all he is most worried about affluence for it this that will likely beget arrogance.
In his memorable words Moses conveys the following timeless message to his people. “When you have eaten your fill and have built fine houses to live in.... and your silver and gold have increased. Beware lest your heart grow haughty and you forget your God.... And you say to yourselves “My own power have won this wealth for me”.
Moses predicts what he believes to be inevitable. With the rise of success and affluence amongst our people, hubris and arrogance are likely to follow. Each step we climb on that ladder to prosperity we tend to forget those who came before us making it all possible.
In simple terms, arrogance is the gross exaggeration of one’s value and the contribution we make to others. It is the opposite of humility which is a more sober evaluation of self which necessarily engenders the appreciation and gratitude to others.
King Solomon says it is a humble man that is truly happy. For it is only through humility that we can fully appreciate the contribution of others in our lives. And it is only through fully appreciating the people in our lives that we can truly be happy.
As a wise sage once said “It is not how much we have which makes us happy, but how much we appreciate what we have that makes us happy”. This is especially true regarding the friends and family in our lives.
Practical application: To dedicate ten minutes everyday to think about the value that others have added in our lives.