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Talk less, say and learn more

Talk less, say and learn more . . .


"My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires." James 1:19-20 (NIV)


Forty years ago this fall when I was 18 and my dear friend Sam was 37ish, he taught me one of the best lessons ever. Very simple. "Be available," he said, "but not obvious."


Hang around. Be there if needed. But don't make a big deal of yourself. Sam wasn't quoting James, but he sort of was.


Another wise man of action and timely talking once said that, every day, we often miss the many opportunities God gives us to keep our mouths shut.


James is not the first Biblical writer to suggest that we listen more than we speak. The writer of Ecclesiastes reminds us in chapter three that there is "a time to keep silence and a time to speak . . ." The Psalmist writes in 141:3 to "Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips."


This is not in the Bible, but it's a handy word of warning: Some things are better left unsaid, which I usually realize right after I've said them.


Knowledge is power, and we gain none when talking . . . only when listening. Keeping my mouth shut means I have a 100 percent chance of not saying the wrong thing or hurting someone's feelings. And I don't give away how little I know.


People feel cared for and nurtured when we listen to them. Go to Sunday School this week and try it out. You can be an encourager and a blessing to someone by just listening.


Teddy Allen


Writer/Editor Specialist, University Communications--Louisiana Tech University, Ruston, Louisiana 

Bible Teacher, Sports Announcer



eThoughts Team -- Extended Week-day Free Devotionals -- Vol. XII, No. 10-28TA -- Archived

Dr. Nelda Hughes Spinks, Professor Emerita--Editor and Publisher

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