LOW MAN ON THE TOTEM POLE
By DANNY MINTON
Totem poles have been around for hundreds of years. You won’t see too many around Abilene since mesquite tree trunks aren’t the ideal trunks for a 30-foot tall sculpture. Totem poles were not worshipped but designed mostly to depict tribal history or folklore. Many times native Indians would feel a connection to one of the animal symbols as if his spirit were intertwined with that particular animal.
Over the years, “low man on the totem pole” has been a figure of speech we use to say we are low in the hierarchy of where we work, live, play or worship. A totem pole has no real hierarchy. The truth of the matter is the importance of how it’s made.
Many totem poles were supervised by a master carver with apprentice carvers to help. On a thirty-foot totem pole, the most important part is the bottom ten feet. That’s the part that the people see the closest. That’s the part that has to look its best. At 30 feet you can’t see the flaws, but within that first 10 feet, it’s all visible. That’s why that part is done by the master carver. That’s the most important part of the pole.
Psalm 8: O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. From the lips of children and infants, you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon, and the stars, which You have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet: all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
When times are tough, and you feel unimportant, when you feel unappreciated, when you feel nobody cares and you feel burdened down by life, remember one thing:
You were made by the Master Carver a little lower on the totem pole, a place of great “glory and honor.”
Danny Minton is Pastoral Minister and Elder at Southern Hills Church of Christ.