Life Notes—September 20, 2012
“For where there is envy and selfish ambition, there will also be disorder and wickedness of every kind. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace for those who make peace.” James 3:16-18
There is a sign on the bulletin board above my computer screen at work. It reads:
Before you speak, THINK
T Is it True?
H Is it Helpful?
I Is it Inspiring?
N Is it Necessary?
K Is it Kind?
The intent of the acronym is to remind me to think through my words before they leave my mouth. Of course, for this to work I must remember to think before I speak, something that continues to challenge me. But when I do, this formula is helpful in considering what I should say and what is best left unsaid, or at least rephrased.
The writer of James, in the passage above, gives us a helpful and timeless formula. It is a formula to distinguish wisdom from above from wisdom rooted in envy and selfish ambition. As humans we have the unique ability to imagine the likely results of our actions prior to actually taking them, not unlike our ability to think through the impact of our words prior to saying them. We can recognize wisdom from above because it leads to something pure, peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits and is without partiality or hypocrisy. Such wisdom brings a harvest of righteousness.
If the writer of James was writing today he might have turned his formula into an acronym, making it easier to remember the key points and faster to communicate. Alas, I made a number of attempts to do so and the best I came up with was: PEGLEG (Pure, pEaceable, Gentle, wiLling to yield, mErcy, Good fruits). Okay, so maybe not every good formula needs to be reduced to an acronym. LOL, OMG, maybe in this case it is most instructive to read the words as they were written. After all, the purpose is to discern wisdom, not to reduce it to its least recognizable form.
Tom continues his sermon series on the book of James downtown this Sunday, where Life worship is at 10:00 AM in Brady Hall, traditional worship is at 8:30 and 11:00. Mitch continues his series on All-Star Animals of the Bible at the west campus, where contemporary worship is at 9:00 and 11:00.
Come home to church this Sunday. What must you sow for a harvest of righteousness?
Greg Hildenbrand, Life Music Coordinator