Self-Control – Tue – 23-03-28

When you hear the term virtuoso musician, do you think of someone like pianists Chopin or Rachmaninov? Or perhaps the violinist Perlman or cellist Rostropovich? They are all known as virtuosos, meaning they mastered their instrument to the highest level of talent and technical skill.

Another virtuoso is the guitarist Doc Watson. He was born in 1923 in Deep Gap, North Carolina. An eye infection left him blind before he reached age two. But that didn’t stop him. One day his father told him and his brother that if they chopped down a bunch of small chestnut trees, he’d let them keep the money from selling them. They did, and Watson bought his first guitar. He spent hours practicing and, over time, developed a technique called flat picking, where the musician holds a pick to strike the strings. The technique influenced many folk musicians. Watson also mastered the finger-picking style.* I encourage you to search the internet and listen to a recording of Doc Watson playing “Tickling the Strings.”

2 Peter 1:5-6 tells us to “make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control.” (NIV 1984) That word self-control refers to mastering something. Doc Watson mastered the guitar. We are to work along with God’s spirit to master ourselves, to learn how to live, to be a virtuoso in the Christian life.

*”Doc Watson,” Wikipedia, last updated February 24, 2023,

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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.