Mother Goose Rhymes Teach Humility

I have been reading Joe Stowell’s book Redefining Leadership and was struck by the interpretation he made regarding the well known Mother Goose nursery rhyme, Little Jack Honer.  It has leadership implications along with our need to be humble. May I not be like Jack Horner.


Little Jack Horner
sat in a corner
eating a Christmas pie.
He put in his thumb
and pulled out a plum
and said, “What a good boy am I!”

“So what is Jack doing sitting in the corner? The corner is usually reserved for boys who have not been good. On top of that, he is sitting in the corner with an entire pie on his lap. I have never known a mother to give her son a whole pie! Could it be that Jack has stolen the pie from the kitchen? And what, may I ask, is Jack doing with his fingers in the food? If you really think about the rhyme, Jack isn’t a good boy at all. But he doesn’t see himself that way. He thinks he is a good boy. Worse yet, he takes the credit for the plums. Most likely, it was his mother who went out to pick the plums, washed and sliced them, and put them in the pie.
Sometimes I wonder if this is how God sees us when we celebrate ourselves and fail to give him the glory that is due to his name. Every day, you and I live, eat, breathe, and work because of and by means of the grace of God in Jesus. Everything we have is a gift we don’t deserve — yet like Jack, we take credit for it all, thinking our goodness has earned it, thinking that we deserve it.”