Many of you probably have noticed that the Sunday night/Monday morning email/post is generally one from “The Pastor’s Corner”, but today is an odd exception. Thursday when I received the piece from Pastor Danny for Sunday/Monday I made a goof; I clicked “send” instead of “save draft”. It was probably a millisecond before I realized what I had done and thought immediately “Oh, if I could only unclick or unsend that!”‘. Well, obviously I couldn’t and most of you got the Pastor’s Corner well ahead of its rightly published time.
As I thought on what I’d done, it occurred to me that what comes out of our mouths, what we say, is often the same way; once it’s spoken it can’t be unsaid, or as a famous lawyer, I believe, once said, “that bell can’t be unrung”.
James 3:7, 8 says “For every kind of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. ” Words often seem to roll out of our mouths, through our lips without any thought or control. And I believe this is what God’s Word is teaching and warning us about: bells that can’t be unrung.
I know that the Word of God is the sharpest thing that has ever and ever will exist. But man’s words can cut pretty deeply, just not nearly as cleanly, precisely, or to any real good.
The other day Sherlene and I watched a movie called “We Bought a Zoo” and in the movie the father shared with his son some advice that he had received from his father. His advice was that if he would let it, 20 seconds of extreme courage could change his life forever. The father went on to explain to his son how he had used this advice to meet his mother and how that 20 seconds changed the rest of his life. I know that this was only a movie and the scene had a lot of drama, but the premise is correct, 20 seconds can change your life forever. A lot of things can change our lives in 20 seconds that are out of our control, such as car wrecks and health problems, but here we are talking about 20 seconds that we have total control. When the word of God shows us the condition of our soul we are faced with a decision that will change the rest of our lives. We can either accept or reject Jesus as our savior. If we reject faith in Jesus, our lives will be changed because we will not receive the blessings, promises or Spirit of God outlined in the bible. This choice does not take very much courage, but if we have the courage to exercise our faith and except Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection as gospel (repent and believe (Mark 1:15)) we shall have our lives changed forever.
Thursday was my wife’s birthday. Often we will go out to dinner on our birthdays but she was sick so I knew she wouldn’t feel like going out tonight. Instead, I thought that I would make her dinner, some of her favorite comfort foods: fried potatoes, polish sausage, macaroni and cheese, and kraut. She was pleasantly surprised when she got home to hear what I had planned.
Dinner was coming along nicely, with every thing timed to be ready at the same time. Every thing except the kraut that is; I’d started it too soon and forgot about it. When I gave her the bad news she said “how did you manage to burn the kraut on my birthday?”. I simply replied in complete honesty: I had too much going at once.
I think that we do this in our walk of faith many times, too. It’s very easy to overextend our selves and end up with “too many irons in the fire”. The result? Usually we either end up burning out or doing a less than great job at what ever tasks we are working at. And some times both!
Giving out best, our “first fruits”, in each area of our lives is very important. Colossians 3:23 says “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men”. But some times I think we need to assess if we are being hearty and effective or over burdened and, well, ineffective. By no means am I advocating idleness here, don’t misunderstand me. Take your God given talents and put then mightily to work for His glory and to serve His children. Just make sure that you’re doing what the Lord wants and not what you feel an obligation to do. Service out of love will always trump work out of a feeling if obligation.
I was very blessed to have a godly, kind, wise man for my grandfather. He was really more of a father figure to me than a grandfather; my dad died when I was nine years old and my Papaw and I were close any way due to the facts he had no sons and I was the first grandchild. He imparted some of the most valuable knowledge and wisdom that I could ever hope for.
In recent months I’ve also had the pleasure and blessing to be counseled by a couple of my Brothers. Regardless of if I agree with them or not, it seems that I glean at least some bit of knowledge and wisdom from each conversation. I’m very thankful for the opportunities that the Lord has given me to learn from the men I call both Brothers and friends.
The book of Proverbs is filled with exhortations for us to seek and apply wisdom and knowledge from godly folks in our lives. Proverbs 1:5 says “A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels”. How many mistakes we could avoid and hurdles overcome if we would only do what God’s Word tells us: seek out and heed good, godly, biblical advice on the matters we face.
Look for opportunities to not only take “wise counsel” but also be willing to be one when you have the chance.
This past Sunday the kids in my class got a bit of a reward for their exemplary behavior: they each received a huge Hershey bar. One of the girls only ate a very small piece off of her’s and then decided to put it back into the package. She struggled at getting the chocolate bar back in and just wasn’t having any luck. So, our Sunday school superintendent offered to help, by “trimming” the candy bar down (i.e. eating some) for her.
Today society would have us to think we can do the same thing with God’s Word: just “trim” it down to fit our ideas and wants. The world rejects the very thought of things like moral absolutes, saying that disciples of Jesus Christ are “intolerant” because of our adherence to the teachings of Scripture. Well, you know what? They are right: all of God’s children are intolerant of sin, just as our Father is intolerant of it.