OnFire Encouragement Letter
OnFire #185 Chia Tongue
The big news here is Mark and Jan’s trip to the World Sport Stacking Championships in Denver Colorado. They flew out this morning and will compete Saturday and Sunday, arriving home late Monday. This past week has been a flurry of fundraising, media interviews and packing.
To follow Mark’s progress, check my website www.onfireletter.com and click the Sport Stacking logo for a **daily update.** Mark has had several media outlets cover his trip and they are included on the update.
Thanks for your prayers for them as they travel and compete.
There will be no OnFire next week as I will be away for board meetings. We’ll pick up again the following week.
Do you remember Chia pets? They are the ceramic planters in the shape of something, say a cat, that grows grass like fur. Simply water and spread the seeds, and watch it grow! A few weeks ago Chia introduced Chia-Obama - a ceramic head in the shape of Mr. Obama, with the grass being his hair. I kid you not - I couldn’t make up this kind of stuff!
We’re in James 3. The tongue is a fire, he says in verse 6.
Now, I’ve never been particularly mouthy. Oh, I’ve had my episodes of bragging, swearing, gossiping and lying. But some early experiences were very important in my development. My mother washed my mouth out with soap after I came home from the playground with some new words. That fixed me until I was about 12, about the time when it became cool to reintroduce those same words around my friends. Later that year I became a Christian, however, and it was impressed upon us that such words ought not to come from believers.
Early in our marriage, I used a vile word in a moment of frustration, thinking that Jan would take pity on me because this was so uncharacteristic. She did not react the way I thought she would, however. I will never forget her six, simple words:
"If you ever say that again . . ." She didn’t finish the sentence. She didn’t need to - the look in her eyes convinced me that my life would be in danger.
Like I said, some important experiences cemented lessons in my moral development. Like the lessons about lying. My parents told us constantly that it was always better to tell the truth, no matter how bad, because the consequences if they caught us lying would be worse. I thought regular punishment was bad enough! Plus, I was never good with a quick, convincing comeback, so lying was not much of an option for me.
My parents, relatives, pastors, Sunday school teachers, camp counsellors, and youth group leaders can take a lot of credit for influencing me. Not that I’ve been perfect. No no. But their direction was important.
That’s a good thing because I have enough trouble dealing with the other bits of controlling my tongue (check verse 3 for the pun on that one). There are lots of ways to use my tongue which are not proper, and which I must constantly guard myself against.
It would be easy to take credit for someone else’s ideas or work. It is tempting to stretch the truth to protect myself in tight spot. I must always be careful not to betray confidential matters. When I am tired and frustrated, it is easy to cut someone down with angry or defensive words. And it is always hard to apologize. These are just a few areas that come quickly to mind. Give me a little while and the list would grow like a Chia pet in the window.
James reminds us that the tongue is small but powerful, even dangerous. A tiny rudder turns a very large ship. Small sparks char acres of woodland. The human tongue weighs 60-70 grams.
Hmmmm - though it makes up a mere .07% of my body weight, my tongue can change the direction of my life or create smoking ruins all around me.
I can’t help but think of the Proverb which says, "When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise." (Proverbs 10:19)
"Lord, help us all to be wise." Hope this helps. Be on fire.
OnFire is a weekly letter on faith and character written by Troy Dennis. Troy is the Pastor of Family Ministries at Highfield Baptist Church, Moncton NB Canada. This letter published April 16, 2009. *Bible references taken from the New International Version. To subscribe or reply, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Archives are located at www.onfireletter.com Blog located at http://onfireletter.blogspot.com/