Do You Despise Instruction?

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.” Proverbs 1:7

God can communicate instruction to us as worship leaders in numerous ways. Perhaps some of these ring a bell:

  • An email in your inbox on Monday morning
  • A church member who comes up to you after a service
  • A meeting with your pastor
  • An anonymous handwritten note in your mailbox
  • An unexpected phone call from a volunteer
  • Your spouse
  • Your Mom
  • A complaint communicated to you second-hand
  • A meeting with someone who isn’t particularly happy with you
  • Comments on your “annual review”

As I’m reading through the book of Proverbs this month, I’m struck by how often God commands us not only to receive instruction – but to embrace it. “Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching” (1:8). “My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights” (3:11-12). “The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom, and whatever you get, get insight” (4:7).

My natural, sinful response to correction or instruction is to turn away from it, to discount it as unwarranted, and to justify why I should ignore it. When I receive an email, a phone call, or a handwritten note – instead of seeing it as an opportunity for me to gain wisdom and receive instruction – I think of myself as too good to need it. This is a mistake, according to God’s word.

I will never get to the point, either as a Christian, or more specifically as a worship leader, when I no longer need instruction. There will always be areas in which I need to grow, skills I need to improve, habits I need to break, and ways I can be more effective.

As a worship leader in your church, do you despise instruction? Do you look upon those whom God uses to instruct you with arrogance? Do you roll your eyes as you listen to a voice mail or read an email from a church member who is suggesting ways you could improve? Do you consider your pastor as off-base when he offers examples of ways you could grow?

God’s word says that “fools despise wisdom and instruction” (Proverbs 1:7). But “blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold” (3:13-14).

Do what comes unnaturally – intentionally seek instruction, receive correction, pray for humility – and you’ll grow in wisdom.

One thought on “Do You Despise Instruction?

  1. Abram September 21, 2009 / 9:32 pm

    Another good post–you’re right. This kind of thing can be hard to swallow.

    I remember a priest at Truro (I think it was Tory, but I don’t remember) who had a policy to never read anonymous notes that had been left in his mailbox. The idea being that you can’t reply or do anything productive with that person, so he’d just throw them out. I tend to draw the line at second-hand complaints or anonymous handwritten letters as means of receiving instruction, since those themselves don’t seem to follow a healthy and Biblical model of conflict resolution (which, to the point of this post, makes their capacity to instruct suspect).

    But hopefully you aren’t getting too many anonymous notes! Whether or not you can steel your nerve to throw them out without reading them, just knowing they are there and even catching a glance at them can be a downer….

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