GOLDEN WORDS IN SILVER SETTINGS
"A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver." Proverbs 25:11
Only at the time, I didn’t think the word was very fit or gold or silver. But I was wrong.
I was a semi-confident (ok—truth: not very) young mother with three littles, a husband who loved us dearly but worked all the time, a house and yard to care for and some church stuff to do. Busy, busy.
So, when I got a phone call from the experienced, extremely gifted, exuberant Vacation Bible School director, I was a bit stunned. “Barb,” she said, “I think you should be the VBS Director this year.” Stunned, I was, I tell you. “W...w...hat?” I remember somewhat stammering in surprise (maybe shock would be more descriptive). “Me? No, not me. I couldn’t possibly.” Determination kicked in as I finally got some confidence to reply: “No. I just couldn’t.” The responsibility. The recruiting. The standing up in front of everyone, especially the adults. No, Huh-uh. Never. That’s it.
Only that wasn’t it. The director did not back down and just accept my “I can’t.” “Well, why couldn’t you?” she asked. “Of course you could,” she continued with absolute surety.
Hmmm. She didn’t let me off the hook. She apparently really did think I could do it. She apparently saw something in me I wasn’t sure was there. Maybe being on that “hook” was right where I needed to be. Maybe, just maybe I could do it.
And I did.
Oh, it wasn’t just me who did it. Another friend came alongside and co-directed that Bible School. And, for sure, the Lord was in it. For very sure. But had those affirming - if not exactly welcome at the time - words not been spoken to me in the manner they were and by whom they were, I am positive I would never have been the VBS director. I would have missed personal growth and a closer walk with Jesus. I would have missed joy. I would have missed fun. I would have missed working with someone who turned out to be a good friend. And probably, though I can’t know for certain, I might have missed future opportunities for service.
Since that time a few decades ago, whenever my first inclination is to say “Oh, no, I can’t” to something that comes up, my second is to recall the gift of those old encouraging words and say to myself, “Well, maybe, just maybe I can.” Benjamin Disraeli once said, “The greatest good you can do for another is not just to share your riches but to reveal to him his own.” Her confidence-injection helped me to understand that all of us have God-given gifts and that it’s a waste of His goodness to be parsimonious with them. I also learned how vital it is to let someone know when you see something good in them. Positive support is capable or producing long lasting, positive effects.
So, thank you, Pat Scott, for “stirring me up to love and good works” (Hebrews 10:24-25) with your kind words and for being my encourager in the Lord. A golden apple in a silver setting never tasted so good!