Leith Anderson is president emeritus of the National Association of Evangelicals and pastor emeritus of Wooddale Church in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. He served as NAE president from 2007–2019, after twice serving as interim president. He served as senior pastor of Wooddale Church for 35 years before retiring in 2011. He has been published in many periodicals and has written over 20 books. Anderson has a Doctor of Ministry degree from Fuller Theological Seminary, and is a graduate of Moody Bible Institute, Bradley University and Denver Seminary.
You already know the nursery rhyme by heart — it is one of the most popular and best known in the English language:
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty together again.
What do these words mean? Well, we really don’t know. Author unknown. Meaning unclear. We usually assume that Humpty was an egg, but that’s not what it says. The lines are probably political — the ways of yesterday have come crashing down and all the government’s resources can’t put them back the way they used to be.
It sort of means whatever you want it to mean. In Lewis Carroll’s “Through the Looking-Glass” (1872), Carroll tells about a conversation between Humpty and Alice (of “Alice In Wonderland”).
“I don’t know what you mean by ‘glory,’” Alice said.
Humpty Dumpty smiled contemptuously. “Of course you don’t — till I tell you. I meant ‘There’s a nice knock-down argument for you!’”
“But ‘glory’ doesn’t mean ‘a nice knock-down argument,’” Alice objected.
“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”
The good news for Christians is that our faith is centered in Jesus Christ — not the ways of yesterday, the uncertainties of tomorrow, the outcome of elections or Humpty Dumpty politics. We remember when Israel had a great fall and was carried into distant captivity in Babylon. They yearned for God to put everything back together again, and God told them to stay put, build houses, plant gardens, get married, have children, increase in numbers and “seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to God for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper” (Jeremiah 29:7).
Alice didn’t know what Humpty meant by “glory,” and Humpty totally twisted the meaning. Christians know all about glory and echo the words of Psalm 34:3, “Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together.” The classical roots of the biblical word “glory” refer to a person’s reputation. To glorify the Lord is to enhance God’s reputation. Our call is to make God look good. Politics change. Humpty Dumptys rise and fall. God doesn’t change and never falls. As we debate, campaign, pray and vote — make God look good.
This article originally appeared in Evangelicals magazine.