By Pastor Bryce
As I read this chapter, I see a few commonly quoted verses, such as verse 17, which states, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” So, I have challenged myself to look past the commonly quoted verses, and to focus on some that I personally have not considered before. The chapter starts out by saying, “Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring. Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth; an outsider, and not your own lips.” These two verses hit home to me.
In the music world, it is easy to compare your talents with the talents of others. It can become easy to fall into the comfort zone of talking about your talents, hobbies, etc. There was nothing more annoying to me in college than hearing fellow students brag about their talents/how good they were at things. My thought always was, doesn’t our talents and gifts come from The Lord? While we are to put time and energy in bettering ourselves, we must never forget where our source of talent originates from. Because God has given me the talent and desire of music, I have always set out to give my talents back to Him. This isn’t to say we shouldn’t accept compliments. There is a way to be respectful and gracious of others that enjoy the outcome of whatever our talents produce, but we should never let our pride get in the way to broadcast to the world how great we think we are.
Another verse that speaks to me in this chapter is verse 5. It states, “Better is open rebuke than hidden love.” I have set out in life to be teachable and to learn from mentors, but I have found this can be difficult due to the fact that confrontation can be against human nature. A lot of times, it can be easier to hold things in for the sake of not hurting someones feelings. I am always thankful when those that have gone before me will take the time in love to bring correction to my life. I always heard the statement, “The older I get, the more, I realize, I don’t know.” I officially understand what that actually means! I am 27, and I am far from having everything figured out. This verse has a contrast to confrontation and bringing correction in love. The message says, “A spoken reprimand is better than approval that’s never expressed.” Words of affirmation is something that does not come natural to me, but I have noticed that being in leadership, it is important to express approval to fellow teammates. A lot of times, just telling someone that I have noticed a positive change in their musical talent goes a long way. For example, “Your voice sounded amazing on that song. I can really tell that you’re practicing your chord changes; they’re becoming more fluid.” While I understand that pertains to music, this concept pertains to everyday life. Giving open approval to those around us can potentially change the trajectory of their life. I know that when I was in high school, I lived for making my worship pastor proud of me, and I would hang onto every bit of approval, or indication of pleasure with my ability. Let us continue to bring correction in love to those around us, but also give open approval as well.