“A quick-tempered man acts foolishly…” (Prov. 14:17A)
A Stradivarius violin is an extraordinarily valuable instrument. They were made in the 1700s, with only around 512 still in existence. A Stradivarius violin sold in 2011 for sixteen million dollars. If you owned one, you would definitely have an amazing treasure.
I heard a minister share a story about a Stradivarius violin and a quick-tempered woman. The woman was getting on in years. She wasn’t rich, but she had a valuable asset—she owned a Stradivarius violin. She had three grown children. Through the years, they seldom called or visited, but when they did they always asked about the Stradivarius.
The woman decided to sell her house and move to a smaller home in the country. She called her children and asked them to come and help her pack and move. Even though she was in poor health and getting on in years, her children made excuses not to help. The woman tried several different dates, but the children were always too busy.
Finally the woman arranged for a friend to help her pack and move her things to the smaller home in the country. She had a big yard sale to sell some extra things she no longer needed. Because she was in the country, she also decided to burn some things she didn’t want.
She made a bonfire in the backyard. She gave her cell phone to the friend who had helped her move, and asked him to film the bonfire. Then she picked up the precious Stradivarius violin. As the fire burned, she said, “Kids, you don’t seem to care about me. You only seem to care about getting your hands on this violin.” She flung it into the bonfire and, as it burned, she said, “Enjoy your inheritance.”
Wow! Can you imagine that? Can you imagine those millions going up in smoke?
The first moral of this story is: Always be sweet and helpful to your mama!
The second moral is: Be careful what you throw into the flames of anger and resentment. In moments of anger, you can destroy a treasure. In times of resentment, you can burn and lose something of great value.
The Bible tells us about people who burned great treasure. For example, when Cain angrily attacked and killed his brother, he “burned the Stradivarius.” He threw his own flesh and blood, his own brother, into the fire. He also incurred God’s anger: “So now you are cursed from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield its strength to you. A fugitive and a vagabond you shall be on the earth” (Gen. 4:11-12). In a moment of anger, Cain not only took his brother’s life, but also devastated his own.
How many people mess up their lives in a moment of anger? How many people destroy relationships because they lose their temper? How many families are wounded and damaged by someone losing control in the heat of emotion? We must control our spirit so we do not burn and destroy our greatest treasures.
Our families are our Stradivarius. Our marriages are our Stradivarius. You pay a high price if you let anger cause you to lose control of your spirit and say or do things that hurt your family and damage those valuable relationships.
In Daniel, chapter 3, King Nebuchadnezzar lost his temper. In a fit of anger, he had three of his top advisors—Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—thrown into a furnace with a fire so hot it killed the guards who threw them in. Those young men were in the fire but they didn’t burn. They were in a hot place but they stayed cool. They kept their cool even in the fiery furnace.
You know you are mature when you are in a hot place and people are getting upset and angry, but you are the one who can keep your cool. Jesus was right there with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, even in the fire. And He’s there with you, when you are in a tense situation, to give you the grace you need to keep your cool.
Anybody can respond to anger with anger. Anybody can escalate a fight. But wise people stay cool in the furnace. They don’t fight against their family; they fight for their family. Isn’t your family worth fighting for?