An old fable of Aesop tells of the fox and the crow. A crow once stole a piece of meat. The fox, who wanted the meat, began to compliment the crow. First he complimented the beauty of her black feathers. Then, he complimented the beauty of her form. Finally he complimented her signing voice as asked to hear her sing. The crow was so overcome by the praise, she opened her mouth to sing and dropped the meat, which the fox promptly picked up and ate. Our experience tells us that such vanity is not reserved for crows.

J. Michael Shannon is professor of preaching at Cincinnati Bible College in Cincinnati, OH.