Proverbs 27:21 Fire tests the purity of silver and gold, but a person is tested by being praised. (NLT)
Cutbacks, and a recent layoff from which I had freshly returned, was why I was doing what I was. It was the only job available. My travels with Greenwood Mills had taken me from the weave room to unemployment to at the present sweeping floors.
Then I caught a break. The Superintendent of the cloth room happened to be a good friend and fellow church member. An opening arose for the lead person, and he encouraged me to apply. I hesitated. Other employees in the cloth room had been there longer and knew more, but what did I have to lose. After all, I had inside connections. So I applied and got the position. One minute I was sweeping cotton and the next I was running the show and telling people what to do. A classic scenario for a big head.
Did I get it? Maybe a little, but I made an honest effort to remember where I had been resurrected from and why. It wasn’t what I knew but whom. I was the recipient of a gracious choice when there were more worthy recipients.
Natural gold contains impurities consisting of other metals and stones. Pure gold results when these pollutants are removed. The common method is cupellation and involves heating the raw gold until it and the contaminants are liquified which then allows the pure gold to be extracted.
Praise from others is like cupellation. It should melt us into a purer form, but there is always the danger of big headedness. We’ve all been there. A pat on the back. Compliments that stroke our ego. A plaque in our honor. Building named after us. Money donated in appreciation for our service. Then comes the feeling. Not the flush of embarrassment but the puff of pride.
Our response to praise speaks volumes about our character. Remembering others who helped us get where we are-most importantly God, allows the praise to produce humility. Channeling the praise to God and others also enables us to maintain proper perspective.
Prayer: When we feel pride rearing its ugly head, Lord, remind us You are the source of every accomplishment.
(photo courtesy of Stuart Mills at www.freedigitalphotos.net)