Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty together again
Go ahead…read it again…after all we will be discussing this….one more time…SLOWLY…
I don’t even know what got me thinking about this nursery rhyme…but I did. Most of us know it by heart…if I said “Humpty” your immediately reply would be? With little thought we can even imagine it in our heads. Try it…yep, not much different than my picture.
But who is this Mr. Dumpty? While the poem never says, how come we picture him as an egg? What can he teach me about my Christian walk? Why Humpty…when and how did he get put up there…did he get up there willingly (if he put himself up here, well…of course)…how long was he up there…what made him fall…who was there when he did…and who swept him up…one fact: we do know that no one could put him back together again…(sounds like a game of Clue) Besides…who would think to put an egg on a wall???
Let’s first find out a bit about him. The very words “humpty” and “dumpty” are two words with meaning from the 1700’s. It seems “humpty dumpty” was also eighteenth-century slang for a short and clumsy person. The poem itself was more of a riddle then. What can be placed on a wall and when it falls be fatally broken? Would a clumsy person? The riddle may depend on the assumption that a clumsy person falling off a wall might not be unable to be repaired, but an egg would be. Hence, Mr. Dumpty became an egg-cellent choice.
What is interesting is that the original little known version published in 1810 varied slightly, reading as such:
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall;
Threescore men and threescore more,
Cannot place Humpty Dumpty as he was before
But what does all this have to do with your Christian walk? Did you really think I wouldn’t parallel this for you? Before we’re through you may even be able to determine are YOU this Humpty Dumpty character OR maybe, just maybe YOU are the one who put him on the wall!
There was a time in my life early in my ministry that I felt I was fairly invincible. I mean, I was doing what God had called me to do…I was traveling all over the country…meeting and working with all kinds of people in the Christian music industry and various major para-church ministries. It was my dream job. But there came a time when the dream became a nightmare for me and I, like Humpty fell…and I fell hard. Scrambled on the ground, I knew I was a mess. There were a lot of people I was associated with who couldn’t (some wouldn’t) help me…some didn’t think I could be helped. This is not the e-votional to get into that but suffice it to say…despite my short and clumsy Christian walk, I was restored completely.
I see many Humpty’s through emails, talks and counseling others almost weekly…all in various stages of disrepair. Most ask “How did I get here?” They can remember where they started…and now they know they are a mess…so that’s all they can say.
I think a lot of it…maybe most of it…has its roots in pride. Somehow, like me, they got to a point where they were invincible…invulnerable…above the law…on a pedestal…oh wait…maybe…maybe it was on a WALL.
There are two ways we get put up on a wall…someone puts us there…or we put ourselves there.
Read the following…our dear Mr. Dumpty appears again in 1872 in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass…I catch up with you at the end…
“I don’t know what you mean by ‘glory,'” Alice said.
Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. “Of course you don’t – till I tell you. I meant ‘there’s a nice knock-down argument for you!'”
“But ‘glory’ doesn’t mean ‘a nice knock-down argument,'” Alice objected.
“When I use a word ,” Humpty Dumpty said in a rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”
“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master – that’s all.”
Now THAT is a guy who put himself up there…he wants to be the MASTER…his words, his way. And we know the Bible say what the ways of MAN lead to…
Proverbs 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.
Proverbs 16:25 There is a way that seems right unto a man, but in the end it leads to death.
We probably know someone who is like this…you’ve seen them rise, you’ve seen them fall. It’s easy to point the finger at this person…and surely…its NOT you…Hmmmm???
But mostly I want to address those of us who are guilty of “enabling” Mr. Dumpty. Have you ever been shaken by hearing of a “hero” of yours falling? I think in every area of life, entertainment, politics, sports…down to spouses, parents or teachers, we’ve seen it happen to someone we held in esteem. Could it be we are partially to blame for having lifted THEM to a level above and beyond the human frailty? When we lift someone up we have to be careful to remember that they are only human…and sinners. We all like our egos stroked, but there is a difference between edifying the saints (building them up spiritually) and lifting them up to an unrealistic status. We need to be careful in this area especially with those we turn into Christian celebrity. I know some people who base their lives, followings, on the teachings/songs of these “celebrities” simply based on their personal enjoyment of them “I like how that sounds” (Hey, I use to like the sound of Rolling Stones’ Sympathy for the Devil too)…we deceive ourselves…and often do them a disservice with our accolades.
But whether US or THEM, we all fall sometimes…
Back to Mr. Dumpty…
Let’s mix from both versions of the rhyme just to get the point:
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall…okay…we got this part…he got up there somehow…
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall…we know this…we see the mess all over the place…
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men…now this is interesting…I know it is a simple nursery rhyme but just why is this king interested in Mr. Dumpty? Who were these king’s men…and I have no idea how horses would help, but I digress…BUT, the king’s men, I picture, were sent out because the king cherished Mr. Dumpty even though he was short and clumsy.
Do you know of a King like that? Can you think of anyone who no matter what you foolishly do, He is there to catch you when you fall? The ONLY one who can put you back together again? This King is not willing that any should perish…(I guess you could say He doesn’t see an egg with an expiration date).
Matthew 18:14 (KJV)Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.
But what about this last line…
Couldn’t put Humpty together again or Cannot place Humpty Dumpty as he was before…
So no matter what it is fatal??? NO…not at all. Here’s what I think happened in Mother Goose Land:
The King knew what happened…he sent out the troops to bring Humpty to him…but when they got there they saw there was nothing they (or their horses, ugh) could do…they stood around watching Humpty slowly fading. One wise kingsmen said “let’s take Mr. Dumpty back to the King…He’ll know what to do.” And they scrambled off to see the king. The King, being an “eggspert”, and always seeing the sunny side of things, was able to separate the pickled or poached of Mr. Dumpty and put him back together. (Assumed…untold until now) End of story….for Humpty Dumpty…made whole again by the King!
What about us Hard Boiled Christians? God has given us specific ministries we can have towards others. Our training and teaching prepares us for helping someone weather a “fall” (let alone a winter…such are the seasons of our lives.) He send us out to reach the lost…to help the needy…you get the idea. BUT the key thing we are called to do is to bring them to GOD. Whether by word or deed we are a vehicle God uses to get others brought to Him…we cannot do the saving, we cannot do the healing, we cannot do the repair…BUT we can sure be the tow truck! (hey…maybe THIS is where the King’s horses come in!)
Maybe these people shouldn’t get put back to how they once were. I know I wasn’t…I was restored to better than before…THAT is how GOD works. The scope is not as large BUT the ministry more intense and real.
James 3:1-3, 13-16
1Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2We all stumble in many ways. If anyone is never at fault in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to keep his whole body in check.
13Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. 16For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
Been there…Done that…
WHO is worthy to be put on a wall, a pedestal or a throne ? Who can HANDLE it ?
There is only ONE…the ONE…the King…the King of kings…King of the king’s men…King of the king’s horses…and only HE can put a life back together again…for HE is worthy of being lifted up above all.
John 8:27-29 They did not understand that He was telling them about His Father. So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man (Jesus Christ), then you will know that I am the One I claim to be and that I do nothing on My own but speak just what the Father has taught Me. The One who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do what pleases Him.”
John 12: 31- 33Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.” He said this to show the kind of death He was going to die.
We need to realize WHO Jesus is…He is not an arrogant man…He was the God-Man…He is God.
Let’s do a quick review on the application. I know we covered a lot.
1. We may be tempted to put someone or ourselves into an unrealistic position of esteem we/they are not able to handle. (be careful of your adorations)
2. If ego overrides humility the edification and adorations forms self-pride.
3. A FALL is inevitable…
4. No one man/woman can humanly repair the damage done
5. There is only ONE who can repair the damage done and that is God.
6. The same healer/repairer is the ONLY ONE worthy to be lifted up.
I wrap it up by leaving Mr. Dumpty passing by this scene…from 1765…
Jack and Jill went up the hill
To fetch a pail of water.
Jack fell down and broke his crown
And Jill came tumbling after.
A fair warning…when we approach the hill where the cross is to receive the Living Water…we need to relinquish our pride or we will surely fall and risk bringing those closest to us down as well.
The only way to properly fall…
We Fall Down by Chris Tomlin
We fall down
We lay our crowns
At the feet of Jesus
The greatness of Your Mercy and love
At the feet of Jesus
And we cry holy, holy, holy
And we cry holy, holy, holy
And we cry holy, holy, holy
Is the Lamb
Mary had a little Lamb…His fleece was white as snow…
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall