Old sayings are short pithy expressions that usually contain a piece of advice or homespun wisdom. There are different words for them: platitude, proverb, maxim, axiom, adage, or witticism. My Mother would often say, “You don’t know which way you will jump until your feet are in the fire.” I am not real sure what it meant, but having burning feet sounded terrible. My Dad always told me to keep my nose clean. That old adage has lots of meanings including the obvious.
Do you have a favorite old saying? One of my teachers in Longfellow Junior High school often said, “He doesn’t have the good sense God gave a goose.” That even offended the goose. Today, that would be considered an insensitive remark worthy of losing your job or at least being sentenced to a month in Relational Therapy Sensitivity Training 101.
Recently, I heard an old adage that I had never heard before. It is a comment that Sir Winston Churchill made regarding a pompous member of Parliament back in the 40’s. Churchill rose through the ranks of politics to become the most influential Prime Minister England has had to date. Sir Stafford Cripps was born into a wealthy and prominent political family in England, and became a strong voice in the government for the far left. Sir Cripps often made arrogant speeches and carried an egotistical attitude wherever he went. He was pretty much the opposite of everything Sir Winston Churchill stood for.
During World War 2, as England struggled against Nazi Germany, Sir Cribbs made an audacious speech that riled many in England. One of his swaggering statements was, “I do not believe it would be a bad thing for the British working class if Germany defeated us!” Later, after a business session, Sir Cribbs and his snobbish entourage passed by Churchill in the hall. Churchill was quoted as saying, “But for the Grace of God, there goes God!”
The message was obvious. There are a lot of contemptuous people in the world who think they know everything. They even act as if they know more than God. But the Bible cautions us about a conceited spirit. Proverbs 16:18 ESV – “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Romans 12:16 ESV – “Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty!”
One last old saying: “What is pride? A whizzing rocket that would emulate a star.” (William Wordsworth)