Breakfast with Solomon - Proverbs 25:4
"Take away the dross from the silver, and there comes out a vessel for the smith"
This is one of a string of leadership proverbs. It approaches the idea of leadership as a valuable gift that needs to be protected and nurtured. When we move into a position of leadership, we often allow more sin, selfishness, and temptations to be a part of our life. This is the opposite of what this proverb suggests. It is the leaders who need to have the temptations removed from their life so that they can move the society forward.
The orientation of this proverb is to take away the bad material – the dross – from the valuable silver. The word dross is the Hebrew word sug which means a moving back or what is removed from metal because it has no value. The clear idea is that when one becomes a leader, that which is not valuable will cling to them. This must be cleared away so that their leadership inclinations can shine.
What could this dross be? It could be temptation. It could be friendships that waste time or are counterproductive. It could be mundane, ungifted work. It could be activities that are of little or no value. It could be temptations and selfishness. Realize that when you want to move forward in wisdom or with the Lord, there will be these types of waiting dross that wants to keep you from making real progress with the Lord. These are the folding chairs tied to your backpack. These are storage units full of stuff you can't throw away. These are the things that you know that you need to move away from, but for many reasons you allow it or them to hang around and slow down your life.
Dross does not allow silver to be properly formed or molded. It compromises the malleability of the metal and allows cracks and flaws in the silver. So when people allow these waste relationships, these waste activities, these waste possessions to be a big part of their life, they are not able to be molded by the Lord. He wants to use you and is being held back to a low level of use because you can't handle the real assignments that He would like to use you on.
Honestly ask yourself to think of three things that hold you back from really listening to the Lord and being used in a greater way.
What is also interesting is that the silver needs help to get the dross away from it. The silver is not able to clear away that which clings to it. There is a need, in many cases, to have others help you pull the useless filler from your life. Be willing to seek that help; let people help you.