A Thousand Words and Still No Picture

Although they did their best, the boat looked nothing like the original picture

Ecclesiastes 5:1-20

Reference: v.3 A dream comes when there are many cares, and many words mark the speech of a fool. (TNIV Bible)

Explore: The other day I was explaining to a group of teenagers the importance of sharing your faith through actions rather than just words.  I gave one of them a pen and paper and said that we were going to get them to draw a picture.  I then showed everyone – except the drawer – a simple picture of a boat and got another youth to explain the drawing in enough detail so that the drawer could replicate it.  The next couple of minutes were excruciating.  Because the drawer had not seen the picture there was a lot of, ‘Draw a triangle… but make the left side more wavy… no, not on that side on the other side… it needed to be bigger than that… draw another triangle from the point of the last triangle… not that point the one on the left…’ It took a good five minutes for the drawer to finish their picture and, although they did their best, their boat looked nothing like the original picture.  I then got them to do it again.  This time I said that the person explaining the drawing could do anything to communicate, however, they could not talk.  So the teenager went up to the drawer and showed them the picture of the boat.  The drawer then copied it almost perfectly in just over a minute.  This proved to the group that our words are not always helpful in getting our message across.

Application: It is so easy to use our words.  We are much more inclined to tell someone something than change our actions and show them.  And yet our actions are so much more powerful than our words.  That’s why the writer of Ecclesiastes, who focuses a great deal on wisdom, encourages the reader to use few words. It’s not because we don’t have anything important to say, but our point can be made with more power if it’s acted upon and if it’s said succinctly.

Prayer: Lord, give us the right words to communicate our faith in You. Amen.

Why do you think we use so many words? Throughout the next 24 hours watch how many words you use… could you have been more succinct and had greater impact?

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This article was written by Linda Bailey

Linda started theological studies in 1999 in Australia. After working for ten years in various church ministries, she now works as the breakfast producer at 89.9 LightFM - the Christian radio station in Melbourne, Australia. She writes blogs every day about passages she is currently reading in the Bible. Follow her on Google Plus +Linda Bailey or Facebook by clicking the like button on the right of this page.

1 comment:

David SmithSeptember 3, 2013 at 8:41 PMReply

Like your 9/26/11 post on a thousand words and still no picture.