Scripture Reading: James 3
Sermon: “Blah, Blah, Blah…” by Pastor Todd Buurstra
Let’s play a game. Please match these numbers 3000, 6073, 8805 with the average number of words that the following say/think in a day: Female say? Male say? And Humans think? First, females say__. Males say__. Humans think___. According to www.answers.com females say 8805 words per day; males 6073 and humans think only 3000. Now I better not comment on how the average female out-talks the average male, so what I really want to focus on is that even males say twice as many words as we think. Could this be the root of the expression my mouth was in gear but my mind was in neutral? And isn’t this why we describe people of many words as just saying, blah, blah, blah? Like some sermons. To this human ten-dency Jesus said, On the day of judgment you will give account for every careless word!
So, Jesus, James’ half-brother, how do we make the best use of our tongues?
It starts with the realization that words have power. After all, how did God create? With words: Let there be light… Let there be lights to govern day and night… Let us make humankind in our image. Not only do words have creative power in the Bible, but they have redemptive power. God changed the names of people to reflect their change of heart or destiny: from Abram to Abraham, from Sarai to Sarah, from Jacob to Israel, from Simon to Peter, from Saul to Paul. If you research each of those names they mean something new and better; like tempestuous Simon would become Peter, the rock. Words have power. And words have power to reveal our hearts. Jesus said, Out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.
Since words have such power that even this is called God’s Word, James calls us to tame the tongue. He says taming the tongue is IMPORTANT, IMPOSSIBLE and ENLIGHTENED.
First taming the tongue is IMPORTANT… On this Super Bowl Sunday I remember hearing about a Leno interview of Tony Dungy, Super Bowl champion as both a player and a coach. Leno said, You treat your players a little differently… For example when your players come off the field after making a costly mistake you don’t yell and scream at them. By the time they come off the field the mistake has already been made… It becomes a teaching moment. Most coaches are angry. You don’t curse your players. You don’t even curse…. You know, you aren’t normal…(laughter). Dungy replied in his soft-spoken way, I know, I’m a Christian. Tony Dungy knows the importance of taming his tongue, and just maybe it’s made him a champion.
Then James says, taming the tongue is IMPOSSIBLE… I think we’d all agree that of the 370,110,001.3 words the average human will speak in his/her life, as fallen humans, we will never, ever tame the tongue. I think of Sarah who was clearly the most beautiful senior in my MI church. Drop-dead gorgeous. However, I would not say that Sarah was beautiful. The reason being is that she had the mouth of a truck-driver. Beautiful body – ugly soul = ???
Lastly, James says, taming the tongue is ENLIGHTENED… Lance Webb tells the story of an old man who hobbled up to his attic, and lo and behold he found a 50 year old box filled with his son’s diary. The little boy had just been learning to print, and he could see how the letters went from sticks to something resembling penmanship. But when he came to June 4, he was struck by his son’s words. So he limped down to his office, and picked off the shelf his leather-bound business journal of the same year and when he got to June 4th he read this: Wasted the whole day fishing with my son. We didn’t catch a thing! Then he looked back at the first grade paper he had carried down from the attic with the crayon-block letters and read, Spent the whole day with my Dad. Best day of my life. Who made the wiser choice of words?
So this week, to make the best use of your 50K+/- powerful words, don’t just walk your talk, but talk your walk. Talk like you belong to Jesus. Talk like he’s listening. Talk your walk.
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