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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What I’m Reading Today: 2 Corinthians 8-9

About a year ago, one of the most special people I ever had the pleasure of knowing passed away. His death didn’t get much coverage outside of the small town in which I was raised. The man who passed away was named Ken Fisher.

Mr. Fisher (as his students called him) taught band and drill team at the local high school for nearly 30 years. During that time he had an amazing ability to bring out the best in his students. When my oldest brother was in high school, for instance, he took the band and drill team to the Rose Bowl parade in Pasadena where they marched. And when my sister and older brother were in high school, he got our band and drill team (from our little old town of 3,000) to represent the entire state of Washington at the Parade of States in Philadelphia on the occasion of the United States’ bicentennial celebration. Those were momentous achievements for our small town.

Individuals who joined the band were often unsure they would have the ability to memorize music or figure out how to march. Within a few months time, however, those individuals became part of a finely tuned machine. And many a girl joined the drill team thinking it would be impossible to master the jump splits for which the school was famous. Fast forward six months and those same girls were part of a drill line that would have made the Rockettes jealous.

So how did Mr. Fisher accomplish all of this?

Well, he had a special talent. He had a way of looking deep inside 14 and 15 year olds and seeing them not simply who they were – but for whom they could become. In other words, he saw the best in others. Many a student got a glimpse of their potential through Mr. Fisher’s eyes and ended up living up to that potential.

I was reminded of Mr. Fisher as I read Paul’s words to the Corinthians in today’s passage. In talking with the Corinthians about their neighbors in Macedonia, Paul explained that he was simply trying “to bring the best out of you.” And guess what? Paul’s words of love and encouragement did just that.

Today I would invite you to think about what sort of picture those around you have of themselves when seen through your eyes. Do your critical observations cause others to feel demeaned and demoralized and see themselves as less than; or does your loving and encouraging perspective help others see themselves as wonderfully talented individuals for whom the sky is the limit?

Til next time…

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