As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17
I have some interesting questions for us to think about. Who would you say are the people in your life who have influenced you the most? Who has had the most spiritual influence on you? And who in your life keeps you “sharp” for being the person Christ would have you be?
If you are like me, my answers came pretty quickly. Undoubtedly, my parents were by far the most influential people in my life. My dad taught me the importance of hard work and through that work ethic, he taught me how to earn value and worth as a person through my efforts. He was the one who planted the seed that I should become a teacher. It was his dream from as early as I can remember, and it gave me confidence that he believed in that possibility. That inspired me to always try to do my best and make good grades. But it was when I was in Mrs. Edith Carson’s 5th grade class that she grew that seed even more with her love and enthusiasm for teaching. I knew then, that I wanted to be the teacher she was, and she became my inspiration throughout my career.
But, I would have to say that it was my mother who was first and foremost the most influential person in my life in every way. She was such an example of a loving, caring mother with the most unselfish and compassionate heart. But most importantly, she was, and has been a spiritual influence throughout my life. She had the most unwavering faith, the sweetest hope and joy in Christ, and a love for Scripture that has inspired me to read, learn, and appreciate His Word even more. Even after she left us, her love of God and faith still lingers and she “sharpens” me every day with her memory. I want her strong faith. I want her deep trust in God and her hope for all eternity. She gives me the courage and strength to face each difficulty or situation that comes my way, and I am so very grateful for the lessons she taught me.
Then, there are many others I could name who have “sharpened” me with their faith – family, friends, and church members, and I feel so blessed to have had such wonderful godly, Christian people walking along side of me throughout my life.
Food for thought, isn’t it, especially when we think about the people in our lives who continue to “sharpen” us like iron. The images of iron are used throughout Scripture in a number of ways, but it always represents strength and endurance.
All of us are impacted in some way by the people who pass in and out of our lives. Some give us strength and encouragement, help our faith to grow, and inspire us to be the individuals Christ would have us be. Others hinder our spiritual growth, distract us from God and our faith, and keep us from growing into who we could be. We become those we associate with and they help form our present values, convictions, morals, habits, and goals in life. We need people in our lives who will inspire, motivate, and help us to be faithful and loving individuals.
Then comes one more important question for us to think about – Are we one of those who helps “sharpen”, or one who “dulls” another person’s potential to grow in Christ?
Dear Lord, thank you for the people in our lives who have given us a heritage of faith and trust in you, and for those who have helped our faith to grow. Help us to be individuals who can help “sharpen” others with our encouragement and love to become the person you would have them be. Amen