“Silver is tested in a crucible, gold in a smelter, and a man by the praise he receives.”
I have taken this to mean that when a man receives compliments or other types of rewards because of something he says or does, he can be tempted toward pride, or conceit, or maybe just an unhealthy dependency on other people’s approval.
I always feel a little uncomfortable when people compliment me after speaking at church. I know their intentions are good, but that’s not why I’m up there. Honestly, the feedback I value the most is constructive criticism. A few months ago I shared my testimony in a sermon form. One lady told me afterwards that she liked what I shared, but politely exhorted me to not use the word “I” so much, and to cut back on qualifying what I was about to say, which means trying too hard to explain or justify a statement I am making, or am about to make. I also truncated certain tangents in my presentation because of limited time, and she wasn’t a fan of that either, as I recall, instead insisting that I should explore those thoughts.
The other feedback I value is when someone shares something real or personal in relation to what was presented. Then, I know that the presentation was honoring to God and worth everyone’s time.
Let me be a fool and God be glorified. This is a thought that has developed in my mind recently. It’s because I realize that when I put myself in front of people, whether in front of a crowd or in a personal conversation, and I offer my words, some insufficiencies, some weaknesses, might be exposed. So be it. Somebody else will be inspired to step up, realizing that they could do just as well. Or I will learn something new about myself and then be able to change it. God could use it in any number of ways, and for sure, everyone who is paying attention will grow in some way.
See also On Stage