Gossip

As we all know, the church’s most spiritual members gossip about their brethren. If a man continually berates the church, its leadership, its efforts, that proves that he is a dedicated Christian!

And while we’re at it, everyone knows that a gossip is always very concerned about checking the facts before he speaks, and cares deeply for the well being of those about whom he speaks.

Oh, and one more thing: I was once an NBA player for the Los Angeles Lakers and won an Oscar for the Movie I was in.

The truth is that words are far more potent than we give them credit. Words build and give life – or maim, injure and take life. When our words leave our mouths (or our pens, or when we hit “send”) they have a life all their own.

Solomon calls a gossip a person who “lacks sense.” Yet we frequently treat him as if he is full of godly wisdom. “Whoever belittles his neighbor lacks sense, but a man of understanding remains silent. Whoever goes about slandering reveals secrets, but he who is trustworthy in spirit keeps a thing covered” (Proverbs 11:12,13).

We speak our harsh words flippantly, even casually, yet do not think that like a burning match, tossed carelessly out of a car window, we might cause a forest fire.

“The words of the wicked lie in wait for blood, but the mouth of the upright delivers him” (Proverbs 12:6).

Please allow me to be forthright: a gossip is neither wise nor insightful, still less loving. He is hard on others, inspires no one to live better, and has harmed God’s people over and over again.

The Christian is called upon to develop his ability to use words, to be kind and thoughtful with them.  “Gracious words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul, and health to the body” (Proverbs 16:24).

It was Will Rogers who said, “The only time people dislike gossip is when the gossip is about them.” We have all been the victim of gossip, whether face-to-face or on the internet; the hurt we felt should be motivation enough to cease.

-Stan Mitchell

 

The Church of Tomorrow

I was about eight years old when I heard the “proverb” for the first time: “Young people are not the church of tomorrow,” this speaker declared, “they are the church of today!” I guess I was glad to be included. And I take the point. Young people in churches should not begin a lifetime habit of non-participation in the Lord’s work. “Get involved now,” the speaker was trying to say.

But I like the original proverb better. “Young people are the church of tomorrow.” I like it because it reminds me of the need to train and develop our youth, or there will be no church tomorrow. It reminds me that preachers, elders, leaders in the church do not develop by accident.

Moses spent 40 years learning leadership as a prince of Egypt. He spent another 40 in the desert, learning its dangers. Finally he spent 40 years leading the children of Israel. God prepared him 80 years for 40 years of service! Usually we see it the other way around. Preparation should be slip shod and hurried. Young people should be thrust into leadership regardless of their readiness!

This weekend I saw a motel called the “It’ll Do Motel.” I didn’t stay there that night! Any motel with that attitude was not good enough for my custom! Neither should an attitude of “It’s good enough for the folks we’re with” do for the church. We’re not doing this for the “folks we’re with.” We’re doing it for the Lord!

Young people are indeed the church of tomorrow. We won’t be around for the church tomorrow, they will. We won’t be shepherding the church tomorrow, they will. We won’t be in the pulpits and the classrooms tomorrow, they will. Will they be ready? Will we have developed their knowledge of the scriptures, their character, their determination to stand for truth?

And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others” (2 Timothy 2:2).

The reason this occurs to me is that when I first heard the statement, I was young. I was the church’s future. That doesn’t seem so long ago! Now I am the church of today. If it survives into the next generation, part of that burden falls on me.

-Stan Mitchell

State of Undress

It’s springtime already. Signs of spring include flowering trees – the incomparable dogwood in Tennessee comes to mind – hay fever, and, well, people young and old taking off clothes.

It’s everywhere. Skirts rise to a position above the waterline, and necklines plunge. As Will Rogers declared a long time ago: “I never thought I would see the day when girls would get sunburned in the places they do today.”

I don’t think he was thinking of Miami or the Caribbean when he used the word “places,” do you?

Let’s be clear about some things: It is possible for a woman to look classy, beautiful and charming while dressing modestly. I am aware how hard it is for a woman to find modest clothing in the aisles of our department stores, but I also know that Christian women have found creative ways to cover up. I appreciate that! It is not necessary to be frumpish in order to be modest.

It should also be noted that men’s shorts (have you seen our kids with the baggie basketball attire?) are much more modest now than they were twenty-five years ago. (Don’t believe me? Google a picture of Larry Bird or Wilt Chamberlain!) Now if we could only do something about the exposure of underwear under those shorts …

Let’s also be honest. Those of us who are adults know what it takes to get attention, which parts of the body to uncover, which items of clothing to make tight as the skin on a sausage. Ours is a sophisticated day when television and the Internet allow us to view actors and actresses wearing little or nothing to such a degree that it barely (yes, I know) shocks us any more.

I mean to be tasteful in my remarks, but sufficiently plain to be helpful. Christian men and women cannot allow our society to dictate what is good and beautiful. We can be thoughtful and helpful to both our young men and women in the examples we set. When the heat of summer rises, we need also to let our standards of good taste rise.

“Do not let your adorning be the external – the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry or the clothing you wear – but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is in God’s sight very precious” (1 Peter 3:3,4).

The secret of real beauty is, and always has been, the development not of cosmetics but of character.

-Stan Mitchell

Do you know where you’re going when you die?

“You will know the truth, and the truth will make you free” (John 8:32).

Do you know where you’re going when you die? What if the Lord were to come right now? Would you go home with Him forever?

Please watch the following videos with an open heart and a mind focused on eternity.

About the Truth | Searching for Truth from World Video Bible School on Vimeo.

Continue watching the Searching for Truth series.