The Tongue

by Duane Maust
James 3: 1-12
September 13, 2009

I believe James has some good words for all of us here today. James, the brother of Jesus, is the author of this small and to the point book. James wrote more like the book of Proverbs than the rest of the New Testament. James wrote real practical words for us today.

A couple of weeks ago Elaine preached from the first chapter of James.

Read 1:19

Next Sunday Mike Clymer will be looking at some more verses from James. I guess we are doing a mini series. This book has a lot of help for everyone of us.

When Elaine was a teenager, one summer she memorized the book of James while she drove a farm tractor. These are good verses to know.

Read 3:1

What do you think this first verse is talking about? Should we not want to be teachers? It is an awesome job to teach. There is a lot of responsibility. We need to be careful that we are teaching truth. When I was reading this verse, I stopped and thought about how many people here at Jubilee teach.

Then if you include the number that teach indirectly, the number jumps. We teach children. We teach by younger children watching our action. The youngest children are watching the youth as teachers. Think about how you fit into this verse.

I wonder why James included verse 2. Who is he talking about? I know that I have made my share of mistakes. I am in that saved by grace group. I need Jesus’ saving blood for myself.

Paul says in Romans 3:10, 23 “None is righteous, no not one. For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

In verse 3 James starts talking about this little tongue that so easily gets us into trouble.

James Dominci brought a bridle for a horse today. (point it out) This little thing in the horse’s mouth will turn a big horse around. This little thing in our mouth can turn our life around.

Several weeks ago I was at a mule pull. This was my first time to see mules pull like that. A person can control those two big mules with two little ropes. If they would pull together, they could pull up to 5000 pounds. It didn’t always work out right. Those two mules had to work together. The man with the reins had to have the control.

Think about that little rudder under a ship. Or a rudder on an airplane. You can make that airplane go in a circle with that little flap.

Our little tongues can make us go in circles. If we are not careful, e-mail and Facebook can be part of our tongue. When you push send, it is gone. When you say that word, it is gone.

This is some words for me here. It is so easy for me to have my mouth going and not be thinking about how it may be hurting someone. Does it need to be said? Sometimes it is good for the truth to even be left unsaid.

I still remember my first fire call. I joined the local volunteer fire department. The first call was to my own place. I had a small pile of brush by the mailbox to burn. It was a nice day with no wind. Do you know fire can make its own draft? In a matter of minutes I had fire all over my hillside and it was headed to my neighbor’s house trailer.

Misplaced words can do that same thing. They can get away on you.

I heard this story when I was young and just read it this week.

There is a story of a woman in an Indian village who gossiped about another lady and her family in the village. One day she found out she was wrong about this lady and her family and had a change of heart. She went to the village’s wise man and asked how she could take back all the wrong she had done. The wise man told her to go home and kill her chickens and pluck their feathers and put them into a bag. After this she was to go back and see the wise man again. But on the way back she was to scatter all the feathers she had plucked from the chickens. The lady did as she was told. When she got back to the man, he told her, “Now go back and pick up all the feathers that you have scattered.” The woman was astonished at such a command and said, “By now the wind has carried the feathers throughout the village and beyond.” The wise man then told her, “And so with your careless words, they are like the feathers scattered in the wind. You cannot retrieve them.” With that the woman left with a broken heart because of the words she had spoken, went her way, determined from that day forward to watch her words.

We need to pray the prayer of the Psalmist.

Psalms 19:14 “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, oh Lord, my Strength and my Redeemer.”

Abraham Lincoln said, “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”

Calvin Coolidge said, “I have never been hurt by anything I did not say.”

Duane Maust says, “We must keep a tight rein on our tongues.”

Read verses 8 and 9

Next time you are at a circus and see those big lions and elephants walking around doing their little tricks, think about these verses. That trainer may have more control of that big elephant than his own tongue.

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