I’m one of those people that don't know when to stop. I especially find it hard to keep the stuff I write to a reasonable length.
When I was at school, I was the guy that always had to trim back my written work. I had to do a 10,000 word assignment once and everyone else in the class groaned wondering how they could write that much.
But me? I had to cut 7,000 words out of my final draft to get it under the word limi
More words, less sense
My wife says I waffle, but I don’t think so. It’s just the way I write and speak. I never quite got the concept of “less is more.”
But it’s a lesson I have learned over the years and I have managed to tame my passion for verbosity…at least a little.
I have learned that saying more does not necessarily equate with greater insight or wisdom. In fact in many cases it tends to cloud the message, cloaking it in unnecessary words that bore rather than inform the reader.
I learned this lesson from a set of statistics I read many years ago. I won’t vouch for the accuracy of the numbers, but I believe they are sufficient to convey the message.
● The Lords Prayer has 66 words
● The Ten Commandments has 179 words
● The Gettysburg address has 286 words
● The Magna Carta has 650 words
● The UK Assured Produce Standards protocol for cabbage has 23,510 words
Now I reckon even a verbose person such as myself would struggle with writing 23,510 words about the growing, harvesting, storage and selling of cabbages! I mean, cabbages for crying out loud…they just aren’t that interesting! And don’t even mention the small version of a cabbage (brussels sprouts) and the horror those bring to the hearts and souls of children, and some adults all over the world.
But more than that, when you look at the number of words in those other world changing documents, it tells us that you don’t need to say a lot to get an important message across.
The Word about words
So a while ago I was fascinated by the words of God the Father that are written down in the Bible. Firstly, in relation to what He had to say, and secondly what He had to say about the use of words.
Looking at the second one first, the scripture says this:
“When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but he who restrains his lips is prudent.” (Proverbs chapter 10, verse 19)
It sort of makes you wonder what evils lie in wait for the unwary when dealing with cabbages, doesn’t it? What foul play lurks in the depths of those 23,510 words of cabbage-esque loquacity?
Anyway, it is the words of the first point that are even more interesting.
Words of God
In the Bible God the Father never said a lot. And given who He is it is probably a good move to listen very closely to what He did have to say.
I showed the number of words used in various world-changing documents above, but God the Father uttered probably the most important words you will ever hear.
It was at the Transfiguration of Jesus. The disciples were awestruck with seeing Jesus with Moses and Elijah and were blathering on about building three booths for the Lord and the two prophets when God the Father shut them up.
He overshadowed the disciples in a bright cloud and said just fourteen words.
“This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him.” (Matthew chapter 17, verse 5)
Wow! And the first eleven words were just establishing who Jesus was and how the Father felt about His Son.
But the last three words that were directed at the disciples are the most important words ever spoken or written.
“Listen to Him.”
If we want salvation, if we want to enter the kingdom of God, if we want the blessings of the Father, and if we want to receive the gift of eternal life, all we have to do is to…listen to him. That’s it! Just listen to Him.
It’s not even about what your pastors, priests, ministers or bible teachers have to say. It’s about getting stuck into the word for yourself and listen to Him. What Jesus has to say are the most important words of all, and after all, in the spiritual realm He is The Word.
So what will you do? Listen to thousands of words from other sources that lead nowhere? You might as well read the UK Assured Produce Standards protocol for cabbage.
But if you want all that the Lord promises to His people, then listen to Him.
Not bad. Only 893 words…Amazing!
Since retiring from work, John Lemmon now spends his time teaching, preaching and writing about the word of God, online and offline, answering God's call on him to “Speak to my people.” You can connect with John on Twitter (@JohnBLemmon) or on his website: freegiftfromgod.com/ or listen to his podcast on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/the-free-gift-from-god-podcast/id1440682375