While recently thumbing through an airline magazine, I saw a picture of a statue that caught my eye. It is of a muscular man with a hammer and chisel carving himself out of stone. It is a spectacular work by Colorado artist, Bobbie Carlyle, called the “Self-Made Man.”

I love rags-to-riches stories. They are one of the positive attributes of a land with opportunities in which everyone has the chance to succeed. Such stories usually have a similar thread in that people, through discipline, determination, and hard work, accomplish things that no one in their families had accomplished before them. Whether economic, occupational, or based in sports, entertainment, or politics, the stories are inspiring.

“Self-made millionaire” is a common phrase used to describe a particular group of people who are greatly admired in our culture. They should be highly respected for their unusual accomplishment, assuming it was done with integrity. These kinds of people are usually more responsible with their resources because they know what it’s like to have nothing. There’s something to be said about the people who, having lived with little to nothing, learned how to appreciate much. Character is often forged in many hearts through this process. The children of Israel were trained in the wilderness through daily dependence on God for their provision. That prepared them for their inheritance of the Promised Land. God has similar lessons for us.

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