Sent: April 23, 2002
Subject: What Color is Your Tongue?
Dear Ethan & Emily:
Whenever I read 2 Corinthians, I am always somewhat surprised to find Paul so “open” about acknowledging and then recording for all time what some of his day were saying about him: “His (Paul’s) letters are demanding and forceful but in person he is weak and his speeches are really bad.” (2 Cor. 10:10 NLT)
He even admits in the next chapter: “I may not be a trained speaker, but I know what I am talking about.” (2 Cor. 11:5). “For Christ didn’t send me to baptize, but to preach the Good News…and not with clever speeches and high-sounding ideas for fear the cross of Christ would lost it’s power. (1Cor. 1:17). Paul wasn’t saying baptism wasn’t important…he was emphasizing that his gift was preaching…even though he was a lousy speechmaker!
On one occasion while preaching in Macedonia, Paul got a little “carried away” and spoke until midnight. One young man named Eutychus, sitting high up on a windowsill, became so drowsy that he fell asleep and then tumbled three stories to his death! Paul restored the young man to life, and he went home unhurt. I can’t help but smile with how the New Living Translation summarizes this experience: “Meanwhile, the young man was taken home unhurt, and everyone was greatly relieved.” (Acts 20:12). No doubt, this young man was tired, but this event also says something about Paul’s speaking ability! (Acts 20:7-12). But you just have to give Paul credit…even after all this has happened, we are told: “Then they all went back upstairs and ate the Lord’s Supper together. And Paul continued talking to them until dawn…” (v. 11). Paul never gave up, and nothing deterred him from talking about his wonderful Lord and Savior!
In 2 Corinthians, Paul states: If I must boast, I would rather boast about the things that show how weak I am (2 Cor. 11:30). Why, you might ask would he say that?? Paul answers: “…I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may work through me.” (2 Cor. 12:9).
Paul was a “man with a mission” to preach the Good News of the Gospel. He relied on the Holy Spirit to empower him, and he didn’t worry about his talents, his potential, his speaking ability, or what people thought of him.
He was no “silver-tongued” orator, but Paul relied on the Holy Spirit to take his weaknesses and “work them for good” (Ro. 8:28). Yes, he was short on style and would have flunked a course in public speaking…but he was big on content, and his message was delivered in the power of the Holy Spirit!
No mission of his time had more impact for the Lord than Paul, and countless people came to salvation as a result of his “really bad” sermons.
Have you checked your tongue lately? Are you a “silver-tongued” fancy speaker? Do you have a way with words?
If you are an effective speaker, there’s nothing wrong with that…but if you are serious about serving the Lord…it doesn’t matter. If you have any kind of voice, if you have a burden to reach the lost, and if you are filled with the Holy Spirit, you have all you need!
What would you have done, and how would you react if someone wrote you to tell you that your “speeches are really bad”? For Paul it didn’t matter that his tongue was not “silver”…for it was “red” hot to tell everyone what Jesus had done, and the world has never been the same since!
May prayer for you is that you fully realize that God made you as you are…voice and all. And no matter what the color of your tongue or skin…God has a wonderful plan for your life, and He has equipped you with all you need to get the job done!
Have a wonderful day…
I love you,