“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit.”
Steve says, “I’m the best baseball player on team.” But he has never gotten a hit, and he never catches the ball when it comes his way. His teammate, Jake, never says anything, and he has knocked 20 home runs and is the best pitcher on the team.
Carla says, “Everyone knows I’m the smartest kid in school.” But she makes Cs and Ds, and on her last history test, she got 6 out of 10 correct. Her classmate, Stella, usually keeps quiet, gets straight As and has already been accepted to Harvard.
Mark says, “I’m an amazing singer!” But any time he opens his mouth, off-pitch notes stream out and people cover their ears. His sister, Janice, never brags about her singing ability, but she’s a first soprano in the choir, and she gets solos at church at least once a month.
The bottom line is that what you say about yourself matters so much less than what you do with your abilities. The Bible has countless verses about people who talk all of the time, versus people who talk very little. Essentially, bragging is never a virtue, but humility and hard work are prized throughout scripture.
Whether or not you “toot your own horn,” people will usually be able to tell if you’re good at something or not. If you’re a great athlete, just get it done on the field, and no one will have to ask. If you’re great in a subject at school, keep quiet and focus on getting good grades; your report card will tell the story. If you’re a great actor or singer, stand and deliver on the stage, and your performance will commend you.
Likewise, if you’re a Christian, your unspoken faith will speak very loudly for itself. There are people who scream about Jesus from street corners, but to little avail. And there are people who speak little in words, but whose life speaks volumes about what they believe.
Don’t feel like you have to shout to the world about yourself. Live with honor and integrity, and do the best with what God’s given you, and your works and faith will speak for themselves.
Reflection copyright © 2016 Doug DeBolt.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.