Eighteenth-century illustrator William Blake wrote a volume of prose in which he listed a number of proverbs. One of them read this way: “No bird soars too high if he soars with his own wings.”1 It was not Mr. Blake’s effort to use figures of speech in which contradictory terms appear in conjunction to one another, but rather to show that limits are easily recognizable, but only when trying to exceed them. We see this in another of his proverbs, “You never know what is enough unless you know what is more than enough.”2
We have all seen what happens when someone is elevated to a position higher than their ability to keep them there. Their fall is embarrassing both to them and the ones who promoted them. Solomon had a similar word of wisdom when he wrote: “Train a child in the way he [should] go; and, even when old, he will not swerve from it.”3 This is another way of saying: See what talent and abilities your child has, then motivate them in pursuing their skills and gifts. They will spend their lifetime following that lead instead of trying to excel in some other endeavor.
But too often, parents choose the career path they want their children to follow and are upset when the child does not succeed. So let the bird fly on its own. Let them find out how high they can soar. Then rejoice with them when they reach their limit instead of criticizing them when they can’t seem to climb higher. We can find the same truth in a person’s spiritual growth. But unfortunately, many believers do not know how high they can fly because they’ve never tried to get off the ground. – Dr. Robert R. Seyda
1William Blake: The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, John W. Luce & Co., Boston, 1905, p. 14
2Ibid. p. 17
3Proverbs 22:6 – Complete Jewish Bible