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December 16th, 2008

Focus Text: Proverbs 10: 20-21 (NLT)

20 The words of the godly are like sterling silver;
      the heart of a fool is worthless.

 21 The words of the godly encourage many,
      but fools are destroyed by their lack of common sense.


Stop Here and Reflect Before Reading Ahead

Words seems to be our continued theme in this chapter at the moment.  Although I know that there is a very good chance that God cares about sports as much as I care about shopping, I still can’t help but reflect on the impact word are currently having in one very high profile professional football team: the Dallas Cowboys.

America’s team.  Growing up, I always remember watching them play on Thanksgiving Day.  Although I’ve never been a Cowboys fan, one cannot overlook their impact upon the game.  Tom Landry.  Roger Staubach.  Tony Dorsett.  Michael Irvin.  Troy Aikman.  Emmitt Smith.  And now . . . Terrell Owens!  T.O., as he is commonly known, is nothing less than a sports media phenomenon.  Sometimes, we get updates on T.O.’s nose-blowing status.  

This just in, Terrell Owens has ordered chicken for dinner . . . when we come back, we’ll discuss what this move means to the Cowboys and we’ll hear from Cowboys’ Owner Jerry Jones on his “paltry” opinion of T.O.’s choice.  That’s your Sportscenter update!

But there’s a reason that we are all exposed to the miniscule whims of this talented receiver: simply put, T.O. runs his mouth.  That’s not an indictment and I’m not saying I don’t like him.  Honestly, I think he’s an incredible receiver.  But no one out there can deny that the reason T.O. makes headlines is not solely because he makes plays on the field . . . it’s more so because he cannot control what he is saying.  

He talked in San Fransisco.  He talked in Philadelphia.  Now, he’s talking in Dallas.  The funny part is, he’s only talking when he doesn’t get the ball or the game goes awry.  Which come on, it’s a game . . . it’s going to go south sometimes.  But oh baby, if it does, just grab your camera and get near T.O. because there’s no telling what he’s going to say!  He might cry.  He might question the coaches.  He might scream at his teammates.  He might spin conspiracy theories about elaborate, fictional plans to keep him from getting the ball.  His mouth is it’s own headline!

The sad part is, he will forever be remembered more for his mouth than his ability to play the game of football. Our choice of words, you see, is the trump card of our legacy.  I’m by no means advocating the often ridiculous political correctness of our society that will overemphasize an isolated and obscure incident in a person’s life for the sake of headlines.  But we would be remiss not to understand that what we say is the most lasting impression we will leave.

Maybe that’s why this passage clearly states that, “the words of the godly are like sterling silver . . . “  Maybe we could even say that they are like a blue star laid over sterling silver . . . nah!   The most accurate interpretation is the more about the substance of the silver than it’s appearance.  Sterling silver is valuable, yet it’s also useful. That’s what’s so awesome about just the right words at just the right time: they  are wonderful to hear and they make a difference.  

“But the heart of a fool is worthless.”  Yikes!  What a harsh judgment of someone’s heart!  Ah, but remember, we could interchange “words” for “heart” here since, as we’ve already learned, what comes out of someone’s mouth is an accurate representation of their heart.  In all maturity, please understand that I’m not making any statements about T.O.’s heart or the value thereof . . . he is simply an example of the power of words.

“The words of the godly encourage many, but fools are destroyed by their lack of common sense.”  Straightforward, yet so true.  Words are like knives: the context of their use determines the impression they leave. If you see me chopping up vegetables with a knife to make dinner for my family, then the knife is positive and useful.  If you see me running from a convenience store with a knife in my hand and a policeman chasing me, then your impression of my knife changes drastically.  Both scenarios are unlikely to happen, by the way.  

Words are what we make of them . . . or don’t make of them.  They may not win us a Super Bowl, but our words will define our legacy.  Just ask T.O. and the Cowboys.



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