"Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another."
(On a recent Sunday morning, I shared about how the church is designed by God to be a "rock tumbler." This verse in Proverbs about sharpening iron was a timely reminder to me, so I decided to "re-post" that illustration here).
Have you ever held polished stones? They have such beautiful, vibrant colors with bands of contrasting hues. Amazing! You can find them at roadside stands and gift shops, on sale for just a buck or two. Ever wonder how they get so smooth? Well, it isn't rain, wind, or a fast moving river; these stones achieve their splendor through the deliberate efforts of a simple machine.
The low-tech power-tool is called a "rock tumbler." Basically, put a bunch of rough rocks into its metal drum, add grit (sand) and water, seal the lid, then turn the switch to "on." Round and round the tumbler turns (like a clothes dryer), but not for minutes or hours or days: for weeks! Then, stop the tumbler, remove the stones, rinse, add a finer grit and fresh water, and repeat. Several times, actually. Eventually, you have beautiful, polished, colorful stones.
I think this illustrates how God intends to refine Believers using the local church. We each start our spiritual journey as jagged, sharp-edged rocks. He intends for us to meet together regularly, faithfully, constantly (Heb. 10:25), as a church, and be invested life-on-life. So, into the tumbler drum we go, and the Holy Spirit works like grit and water: as we bash together, our interactions and His grace begin to wear away our rough ridges. Round and round we go, over the weeks, months, years! "Iron sharpens iron." Joy, sorrow, laughter, forgiveness, sacrifice, and so on. Surely we encounter pain and challenge as we are refined in this way, but we are being made into more beautiful, wonderful instruments that reflect God's glory (Rom. 12:1).
Are you in the rock tumbler of God's church? Or are you watching from the outside? Get into the fellowship of Believers, and see God refine you!