Stay Off the Stilts

by Doug Bing, Washington Conference president

My father loves to build things and is always tinkering in the garage.


One day many years ago, he surprised my sister and me with stilts he had built.  He had built us many wooden toys and puzzles for us that we would play with and enjoy.

We had hours of fun with those stilts once we learned how to walk on them. We would walk all over the yard on the stilts.  I felt so tall and grown up when I was up on the stilts. 

It was also pretty cool to be around friends with the stilts because many of them couldn’t walk on them and  I had a skill that they didn’t have.  At times it was also fun to walk towards each other to see who could make the other person fall off their stilts first.  All in all, there were many hours of harmless fun playing with those stilts. 

It has been many years since I have walked on stilts.  But I was reminded of those stilts recently when I read a quote from Adventist Church co-founder Ellen White when she stated this:

But those whom the Lord would use are in great danger of getting on human stilts.

Ellen White, Manuscript 120, 1898

This statement was made in the context of giving advice to those that would be witnesses and workers for Jesus.  It was made to remind us that as we do the bidding of Jesus that we are to do it with the same humility and meekness that Jesus had and not artificially making ourselves bigger by climbing on human stilts and thinking that it is our own ability and wisdom that is making great things happen. 

It is instead the power of God working in and through us.  James 5:16 was also quoted in that same manuscript that says:

“The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

As we reflect on this past year and see the many amazing things that God has done through out this very troubled time in earth’s history, we easily realize that it is not because we are on human stilts.  It is only because of the power of God to sustain us and give us strength day to day to stand and give Him glory and witness. 

As you look to the future and God’s calling for your life, stay off the human stilts and stay on your knees praying and seeking the wisdom and power of God for the life He is asking you to lead.