“Iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” Proverbs 27:17
This bible verse has reigned true in so many areas of my life.
First off, I want to tell you how I grew into my faith. I grew up in a Christian home, going to church on Sundays. But honestly, I was going through the motions. What really changed the way I viewed God and His gracious love was meeting Tim and Josh, a couple guys in my high school gym class.
I sat behind them in our assigned lines, chewing on these cross dog tags I always wore. My family moved a lot growing up, so I never really had a chance to settle into a school and develop a close group of friends. To cope, my nervous habit was chewing on those dog tags, which they must have noticed because, one day, Tim and Josh asked me if I went to church. I told them I did. And although I told them the truth, that I did go to church, I was never mentally or emotionally present.
Looking back, I’m so thankful my quiet, awkward self didn’t freak out because that moment turned out to be life-changing. Nonetheless, they invited me to Willow Creek, a huge church in South Barrington, Illinois. The church might as well have been a city! The high school ministry was bigger than any church I had ever seen and there were kids, who were all my age, worshiping their hearts out. I mean, this place was literally a concert hall. It was the first time I had ever seen people so emotionally and spiritually invested in their relationship with God.
I remember asking Josh and Tim, “Is it like this every week?” It seriously felt like a concert every Sunday. I was amazed at the power of the worship and the fact that it was all high schoolers. I was speechless. At the time, I had so much emotion come over me, purely because I was amazed I had found friends. Lifelong best friends. God placed two amazing men in my life, who could be there for each other and lead one another closer to Him. That day was the start of my spiritual life.
It’s crazy, but Josh and Tim’s simple decision to invite a shy, quiet kid in gym class to Willow Creek changed the course of my life. But, what none of us knew at the time was that it was not only going to change the course of my life, but my sibling’s lives as well. After introducing them to Willow Creek, my brother and sister, Matt and Kate, started seeing the beauty of what the community had to offer, too. Not only did it strengthen the way they viewed God, but it strengthened our relationship as siblings.
I am forever grateful for Josh and Tim and their decision to spread the word of God by simply extending an invitation to church. It reminds me that doing something so simple can change someone’s entire life course.
I challenge you to invite someone to church that you feel needs to hear the word of God. Speaking from personal experience, it’s been by far the best thing to happen in my life. I promise you, you will change someone’s life. You simply need to extend the offer.
Before Josh, Tim and I left for college, Tim gave us a picture frame that still sits in my room. Written on it is Proverbs 27:17, “Iron Sharpens Iron, so one man sharpens another.”
This bible verse is the definition of our friendship and our support for each other. Tim didn’t know it, but it was also one of the mantras of Michigan State Athletics, the program I was joining as a tennis player. Plastered on the walls of our weight room, in big letters, lives that verse.
Heading into my senior season, I often reflect on the impact Proverbs 27:17 has had on prominent aspects of my life as an athlete, friend and man. I believe the relationships created throughout our lives are one of the most amazing gifts God uses to bless us. They are opportunities to sharpen one another, and in return, be sharpened. I thank God for giving Tim and Josh the courage to invite a quiet kid from gym class to take the first step in his faith journey. Today, those two men are still prominent figures in my life. For this reason, I look for individuals that I can seek out and invite hoping that I can make half the difference that these men had on my family and I’s life.