Pas­toral slips of the tongue

The Catoosa County News - - WORSHIP DIRECTORY - Bo Wagner

as I be­gan to preach. As it was just a cou­ple of days be­fore Valen­tine’s day, I had a mes­sage on mar­riage pre­pared, one ti­tled “With This Ring.”

One of my points was de­signed to drive home the fact that, when a man and wo­man marry, their iden­tity for­ever changes. Now they are so-and-so, the wife/hus­band of so-and-so. I pointed out dif­fer­ent cou­ples by name, and told them so.

It was af­ter the en­tire as­sem­bled crowd burst into hys­ter­i­cal laugh­ter that my mis­take dawned on me: “You are Ben, the wife of...”

My church mem­bers never... ever... let me slide by with some­thing like that. Could they sim­ply smile and think “I know what he meant,” and then tell me of my mis­take later? Oh no, not my peo­ple. They ab­so­lutely howled with laugh­ter. Some were in tears.

Keep in mind, it would not have been half as funny if I had not said it of the most mon­strous man in my church. He has trou­ble find­ing a good gym to work out in, be­cause most of them do not have weights heavy enough for him. This is the man to whom I en­trust my life when I am try­ing to lift ever heav­ier amounts on the bench press. And I just called him a wife. Not just to our crowd; we broad­cast all our ser­vices live on Face­book as well.

Some­times the words of an apol­ogy are hard to come by. Not this time; grov­el­ing for my life af­ter ser­vice came pretty eas­ily, ac­tu­ally.

Thank­fully my friend is a very for­giv­ing guy with a great sense of hu­mor.

The more we speak, the greater sta­tis­ti­cal chance we have to get some­thing wrong. A wise man named Solomon once wrote of this fact. He said in Proverbs 10:19, “In the mul­ti­tude of words there wan­teth not sin: but he that re­fraineth his lips is wise.”

A pas­tor must take to the pul­pit each week and speak. But as a gen­eral rule of life, lis­ten­ing should take up more of our time than speak­ing does, no mat­ter who we are. No pres­i­dent, par­ent, spouse, friend, re­porter, no any­one should think first of speak­ing and rel­e­gate lis­ten­ing to sec­ond class sta­tus.

The old maxim is still true: God gave us two ears and only one mouth to re­mind us that lis­ten­ing is twice as im­por­tant as speak­ing.

And let me close by say­ing I am al­ways hon­ored to lis­ten to you. Feel free to email me at any time with prayer re­quests, ques­tions, or even glee­fully sar­cas­tic hu­mor over my lat­est Wag­ner­ism.

Bo Wagner is pas­tor of the Corner­stone Bap­tist Church in Moores­boro, N.C., a widely trav­eled evan­ge­list, and au­thor of sev­eral books, in­clud­ing a kid’s fic­tion book about the Bat­tle of Chicka­mauga, “Bro­ken Broth­er­hood.” He can be emailed at 2knowhim@cbc-web.org.

Evan­ge­list and au­thor

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