Saturday, October 26, 2013

Fewer words - greater meaning

This past week in my class, we have been working on learning how to present our "claims", what we believe. In the process of helping students clarify what they wanted to say and cut out some of the unnecessary fluff, one of the students spoke up and said, "Oh, I get it. Less words, more meaning!" Exactly! 

I tweaked the wording of her comment and created a chart for my room that said, "Fewer words - Greater meaning." Since that time, this phrase has been rolling around in my head.

Now, those who know me might find it unusual that I would write a blog about using FEWER words. I have been known to talk a little...okay, I talk a LOT! But lately I'm finding that I am choosing my words far more carefully.

There was a movie a few years back, A Thousand Words. In this movie, the character Jack McCall, played by Eddie Murphy, finds an unusual tree in his yard after an encounter with a spiritual guru. He discovers that when he speaks, a leaf drops off of the tree. When all the leaves are gone, Jack's life will be at an Jack refuses to speak at all! Of course, his life is affected by his choice. By the end, Jack has to find a way to choose his words carefully because each word has to say as much as it possibly can. Each word must be worth spending a part of his life on. Fewer words - greater meaning.

The Bible does have a verse that talks about all this. Proverbs 10:19 says, "The more talk, the less truth; the wise measure their words." 

This could prove a problem for me. I do love to talk and make people laugh. I decided maybe I should look to the author and finisher of my faith for an example of what this might look like.

If I look to Jesus and His words that have been recorded - honestly there aren't that many! I have to believe Jesus said more than was recorded; I can't picture Him sitting around a campfire with the disciples and saying little to nothing unless it was to be recorded. I can picture Him laughing and even joking with His friends. With that in mind, I have to consider that the words that WERE recorded must have been times when He was trying to get His point across - He was measuring His words in order to teach. No one can deny that the words of Jesus had meaning.

I know that I want to live and teach like Jesus. This means that I will have to first clearly know what I believe. I will also need to be able to listen to and gauge the understanding of those around me. Jesus obviously had high ideals that He wanted His followers to reach. At the same time, He could see where their understanding was. This must have meant that at times He stopped talking and listened. Instead of focusing only on where He wanted His followers to get to, Jesus also recognized where they were...and He scaffold-ed (my teacher friends will love this term) His teaching so that they could follow. He wisely chose each word to lead His followers from where they were, to where He wanted them to be.

They're just words...or are they? Maybe like Jack in the movie, I'm realizing that my life is closer to its end than ever. Definitely I want to live my life more like Jesus. Either way, I want the words I choose to have have meaning. Fewer words - greater meaning. If we all did this, who knows where it might lead?

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