Ask the typical (over 40? year old) who said, "I am what I am!" And, I'll betcha the quick response will be, "Popeye the Sailor Man!"
His most remembered tag line seems to be, "I yam what I yam and tha's all I yam! I'm Popeye the Sailor Man!"
Popeye is an underdog with a long fuse and a keen sense of fair play. Everyone identifies with him when he finally says, "Tha's all I can stands, and I can't stands no more!"
But I admit, I sure wish Popeye had boldly stated, "But by the grace of God!!" before finishing with, "I yam who I yam."
1 Corinthians 15: 9-10
9 -For I am the least of the apostles, 4 not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
10 -But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me has not been ineffective.
I don't know about you but right now my prayer is, "But by the grace of God, I am. Dear Lord, help me to be what you want me to be."
Because I know I could be so much more for God. I am ever grateful for his grace.
I long to be as faithful as Samuel -- "Speak, Lord, your servant is listening."
But the longing is not enough -- all that God gives me is not enough --- unless I accept, submit and stay the course.
Have I said how grateful I am for God's Grace? But by the grace of God, I am!
H/T: Faith Flaherty and Arise with St. Mary's Parish
1Corinthians, chapter 15 (USCCB -NAB)
footnote4 [9-11] A persecutor may have appeared disqualified from apostleship, but in fact God's grace has qualified him.
Cf the remarks in 2 Cor about his qualifications (2 Cor 2:16; 3:5) and his greater labors (2 Cor 11:23). These verses are parenthetical, but a nerve has been touched (the references to his abnormal birth and his activity as a persecutor may echo taunts from Paul's opponents), and he is instinctively moved to self-defense.
This clip is from 1933. (Before you click, be warned that it is racist by 2010 standards)