A law enforcement
friend told me that most often when he interviews a subject, he doesn’t have
any problems getting information out of him. Most of us talk entirely too much,
even when it hurts our cause.
Romans 14, when Paul is dealing with controversies about meat sacrificed to
idols and holy days and a whole manner of first century issues, he gives some
surprising instructions: “So whatever you believe about these things keep
between yourself and God.” (Romans 14:22 NIV)
might agree that most of us talk entirely too much.
lots of opinions, feelings, ideas, and thoughts, and just like for you, all of
them are correct. As my old friend “Makk Truck” used to say, “That’s my opinion
and it ought to be yours!”
the great markers of wisdom is the ability to know when to share our genius
insights and when to keep our mouths shut. I haven’t figured that one out quite
yet, but if I ever do, should I tell you the secret?
Paul gives us an answer anyway in Ephesians 4:29. “Let no corrupting talk come
out of your mouth.” Mostly you think of 4-letter words when you hear this line,
and that’s true enough, but the word “corrupt” means something rotten that
spreads decay. Can you think of a time when someone spoke to you in a way that
let the air out of your tires? A time when gossip slandered a friend and
poisoned a group? He continues, “…but only such as is good for building up, as
fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”
lean into our right to remain silent a little more, unless waiving that right
builds up, fits the moment, and spreads grace.
a rowdy riverboat captain decided to go to a tent revival in downtown
rich, making a fortune off the family riverboat business. Not only did his
boats provide transportation for goods and people, they were the 1885 version
of the party barge. He made his money off drunkenness, gambling, and “assorted
didn’t go to church to hear the preaching. He didn’t go out of a sense of
obligation. He didn’t go because he loved the Lord. He wasn’t even there out of
a sense of curiosity.
He went because he thought it sounded fun to heckle the preacher.
I wish that May 10, 1885 sermon had been recorded, because something amazing happened. That riverboat captain was convicted and converted. He left meeting committed to gospel ideas. He was so convinced that he pledged $100,000 (in 1885 money!) to construct a permanent meetinghouse large enough for every person in Nashville who wanted to hear preaching in this new Union Gospel Tabernacle.
Thomas Green Ryman’s death, the building took on the name you and I know, the
Ryman Auditorium, the mother church of country music, which was first dedicated
to the work of the church.
know what someone’s motivation might be for coming to worship, but by the grace
of God, sometimes it has changed by the time they leave. And even if it hasn’t,
“Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed,
and in that I rejoice.” (Philippians 1;18)
we have time to think, we react.
9:51-55, Jesus was traveling toward Jerusalem when a Samaritan village chose
not to receive him. James and John reacted. They said, “Lord, do you want us to
tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them?”
reasonable for them to be emotional about their rejection of Jesus. Their
action was unkind and inhospitable. They could be sad or mad or frustrated or
any combination of those things, but I think that they over-reacted because Jesus
immediately turned and rebuked them. Some manuscripts add a line to the end of
verse 56: “The Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them”
(KJV). Their overreaction caused them to miss the point and forget their place.
reasonable for me to be frustrated when someone says or does something silly,
but I need to take care to keep my overreactions in check. Proverbs says that
“Whoever is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his
spirit than he who takes a city.”