Pastor Joe Miller IV
In May 2020, I wrote a similar blog, and I don’t know about you, but I need the reminder. When I was young, like every other American kid, I was looking for my niche in life. I tried all kinds of sports such as football, baseball, etc. But they all had the same things in common. Your success or failure had a lot to do with other players, referees, bats, balls, and subjective rules. I quickly lost interest in all of them and became more interested in the purer pastime of hunting and fishing.
In my humble opinion, just me and God’s creation, the same now as it was for thousands of years. I spoke at a wild game dinner and shared with the group that God never told His followers to go play baseball or football, but if I could quote the command of God to Peter in Acts 10: 12-13: Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. So it does come naturally, and I’m just trying to obey God’s Word!
Even in hunting, there are times you have to deal with other people. I try to hunt during the week when the woods are less crowded, but there are certain days when the woods are full of people, and the more people you have, the more rules are required. No bats and balls, but there are guns, bows, and arrows, and the emphasis on safety ranks high - safety first.
The one main rule in hunting is the requirement to wear blaze orange in certain seasons and times because the woods are generally brown, grey, or black. Wearing orange communicates a non-target - which brings me to my point of the importance of good communication. I don’t care what sport you play (hunting to football), the way you communicate with each other will lead to success or failure. How much more important is how we communicate with each other in our families and at our church. Let’s face it, the vast majority of how we communicate is with words. Words are powerful and able to change the direction of any cause. Words can start wars as a spark can start a forest fire.
James 3: 5-6
Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.
Those are pretty strong and alarming words knowing we all possess a tongue, and we are all capable of defiling the groups, family and church, that we identify with. What we need is wisdom to discern between what to say and what not to say, when to say it, and when not to say it.
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers.
The Bible says to not say things that would corrupt or corrode, words that are worthless or will destroy relationships. But to use your words to edify, which means to build up, to minister, to cause to grow in grace which brings joy, lovingkindness, and peace to the hearer. Let me ask you a question: after having a conversation with people, is their love for God and others greater? Have they been encouraged in the things of life and in their situations? Are their hearts lifted and hopeful or have they been discouraged?
There is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword: but the tongue of the wise is health.
Which one of these examples would people identify you with? Proverbs 16:24
Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.
An ungodly man diggeth up evil: and in his lips there is as a burning fire.
Again, ask yourself which verse pops up in people’s minds when they hear your voice or see your name come up on their phone? What are you communicating to those around you? Hope or hurt?