Random Lent Thought for Friday April 7th: Don’t Talk So Much!

I’ve noticed that my Random Lent Thoughts have been getting longer as Lent has progressed. Maybe that’s because I’m posting highly sophisticated thoughts that can’t be summarized in a short sound byte. Or maybe it’s just that, like many people, I’ve become more verbose because of social media!

Whatever the reason, my verse from Proverbs for today gave me something to think about:

‘The prudent keep their knowledge to themselves,
but a fool’s heart blurts out folly’ (Proverbs 12:23 NIV 2011).

Now, I don’t for a moment think that the writer intended that wise people never pass on their wisdom! The whole book is a tribute to the importance of wisdom, and it contains many exhortations to the young to listen to the wise counsel of their elders.

Nonetheless, there is such a thing as too much talking, and I’m sure I crossed that particular line a long time ago. Someone once said of a very prolific writer “He never had an unpublished thought”. I think I might be guilty of never having an unspoken thought.

What’s wrong with that? Two things, I think.

First, sometimes a thought needs time to germinate. It’s just a seed; it’s not a full-grown plant yet. In the old days, that germination used to happen in secret. We would write our ideas down in journals (which were private, not online), where no one would be in any danger of thinking that they represented our mature ideas. We could mull them over, evaluate them, discard things if we wanted. Perhaps we could share our ideas with a few trusted friends, trying them out in a small inner circle, but not broadcasting them to the world at large. By the time we went public with them, they were strong, healthy plants.

Well, I think I need to do more of that quiet cogitating.

Secondly, all this verbiage can too easily become an exercise in vanity. How gratifying to my ego that the world is interested in my thoughts! I like the approval of others! Let’s think of a few more pearls of wisdom I can share!

Well, I think I’ve blurted out enough folly for one day (if you’ve seen my Facebook feed this morning you’ll know what I mean!). As they say in the world of submarines, it’s time to ‘run silent, run deep’. Now I’m going to shut up for a while, and read a good book.

As Captain Taylor (former director of the Church Army in Canada) used to say,

‘Lord, fill my mouth with worthwhile stuff
and nudge me when I’ve said enough’.

 

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Tim Chesterton

Family man; pastor of St. Margaret's Anglican Church on Ellerslie Road, Edmonton; storyteller; traditional folk musician and occasional songwriter. Email me at timchesterton at outlook dot com.

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