The owner of a small foreign car had begun to irritate his friends by bragging incessantly about his car’s gas mileage. So they devised a plan to bring his boasts to an end. Every day one of them would secretly pour a few gallons of gas into the car’s tank. Soon the braggart was boasting of getting as much as 90 miles per gallon.

The pranksters enjoyed watching his exasperation as he tried to convince people of the truthfulness of his claims. It was even more fun to see his reaction when they stopped refilling the tank. The poor fellow couldn’t figure out what had happened to his car.

This incident points out that self-congratulation can backfire and leave a person looking foolish. There is something repulsive about talk that advertises one’s own good judgment or abilities.

How much better it is to find our security and sense of worth in a quiet, personal relationship with the Lord! If we do that, we will become more interested in the needs and successes of others than we are in our own. We will speak of our concerns and accomplishments only as a means of encouraging others who need an uplifting word. Such an approach will win notice and approval—even though we’re not looking for it.