“Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring. Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth; an outsider, and not your own lips.” Proverbs 27:1-2 NIV
I’m a dreamer. I imagine. I create in my head. When I was a kid I had a lot of Legos. I mean a lot. I never had the original makeup of the actual sets. I would deconstruct and then picture what I wanted to build in my head and then do it. I built castles, spaceships, tanks, entire towns. I had thousands of Legos.
It was easy. It was simple. I would literally take the idea, then go gather most the pieces I would need,and begin construction. It might take me a few hours or a day or two to build whatever I had dreamt up. It felt so good. I was so young and could do anything my heart desired.
Well, life isn’t quite that simple when we get older. I look back at myself and see how I dream a lot the same way, but life doesn’t have the same Lego pieces. It is a whole lot more complicated. In my 20s, I talked about my dreams of business to my friends, my family, whoever would listen. I talked about everything under the sun, made goals, boasted about what would be.
Life just isn’t quite that easy, or in my case it has not been. I thought I’d work with my Dad forever and that didn’t happen. I thought I’d have the biggest and most successful real estate team and that didn’t happen. I thought I’d build a big house with a view by 28, that didn’t happen. I thought I’d own blah, blah, blah…..the list could go on and on. I think I’ve made the point. And in all these things, I boasted about what I was going to do to my friends, family, anyone that would listen. I boasted about the future as if it was reality.
God gave me this verse in 2016 to really study and redefine the way I look at success and what He wants, not what I want. He changed my path, humbled me and help me understand that He definitely had a different plan for my life than what I was striving to go after. See, the wisdom in these two verses is huge.
First, it specifically gives a command. “Do not boast about tomorrow.” It isn’t a law, it is not being forced on me. It is wisdom. And it is very adamant because it has obviously been tested. Wisdom is always tested. It has seen failure and learns from that failure. But wisdom is a suggestion. It’s like a father that allows their child to learn. The father tells his child what not to do and why, but still allows the child to test. See, the whole part that says “for you do not know what a day may bring”, really answers why I should follow the first part. I just don’t know. You just don’t know. We just don’t know. No one knows what tomorrow will bring.
I failed. I failed at this verse for literally 35 years straight. Once in a while, I would win a small battle, but I was losing the war. Just months before turning 36, I finally understood what this verse meant and why. It was a turning point for me. It reminded me that I needed to put my head down and work. That the proof of what I did would be in work, not in my own voice telling others what I had done or would do. And that brings me to the next verse.
“Let someone else praise you, and not your own mouth; an outsider, and not your own lips.”
This is the blessing that comes from not boasting. This is what happens when one puts their head down and works hard. This is the reward. This is what builds my reputation without me having to assert that I am who I say I am. Now, someone has told others who I am and that is the natural cycle. It automatically builds reputation, trust, relationship, without me having to say one word.
Why do I share this? Because, if it helps just one person it’s worth it. I was in a vicious cycle. It was painful. I wish I had paid attention to these verses long ago. I would have made less mistakes and probably would have kept more friendships…
Truth applied and thus growth in your character in wisdom! Nothing wasted but experience gained. Keep striving.