The Word — The best and the worst

Published 10:00 am Sunday, April 10, 2022

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Charles Swindoll tells the story called: “The Tale of the Tardy Oxcart.”

There was a philosopher named Xanthus who once told his servant that the next day he would be entertaining friends for dinner and that the servant should get the best thing at the market to serve for dinner.

So, the next day when the philosopher and his guests sat down at the table, they were served four or five courses of tongue cooked in different ways. The philosopher was a little frustrated and confronted his servant, saying: “Didn’t I tell you to get the best thing in the market to serve?”

The servant replied: “I did get the best thing in the market. Isn’t the tongue the organ of sociability, the organ of eloquence, the organ of kindness and the organ of worship?” Then Xanthus said: “Tomorrow I want you to get the worst thing in the market to serve me for dinner.” So, the next day, Xanthus sat at the table and was served four or five courses of tongue. The philosopher was frustrated and again confronted his servant: “Didn’t I tell you to get the worst thing in the market to serve me?” The servant replied: “I did; for isn’t the tongue the organ of blaspheme, the organ of defamation and the organ of lying?”

Wow, Church — the tongue can be the very best thing —or the very worst thing. The tongue has the power for much good or much evil – the power of life — and the power of death.

Have you ever asked God to help you be slow to speak? To think before you start spitting hot fire out yo mouth?

Here is an acronym that I came across: T-H-I-N-K. Think before you speak. T – is it True? H – Is it Helpful? I – Is it Inspiring? N – Is it Necessary? K – Is it Kind?

I read about one person who was not allowed to talk for six months, and so all their communication had to be written on paper.

The person learned that the process of having to put it on paper caused them to see how unimportant or hurtful things they use to say were, so they kept things short and sweet. Solomon says, “He who holds his tongue is wise.” (Proverbs 10:19)

Did you know that “There’s nothing wrong with having nothing to say; unless you say it!” And the old saying is true, “Keep your words as sweet as possible, because you may have to eat them.” Jesus taught, “For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34; 15:19).”

Hey there, maybe we need to think before we speak, huh?

Rev. J. Cameron Bailey is pastor of Kenbridge Christian Church. He can be reached at