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DO NOT KEEP ON BABBLING


Dr. Clarence Bass, professor at Bethel Theological Seminary, early in his ministry preached at a church in Los Angeles. He thought he had done quite well as he stood at the door greeting people as they left the church. The remarks about his preaching were complimentary. That is, until a little old man commented, "You preached too long."


Dr. Bass wasn’t fazed by the remark, especially in light of the many positive comments. Then the old man passed again and said, "You didn’t preach loud enough." Dr. Bass thought it strange that the man had come through the line twice, but when the same man came through the line a third time and exclaimed, "And you used too many big words," he began to wonder.


Dr. Bass sought out a deacon who stood nearby and asked him, "Do you see that little old man over there? Who is he?"


"Don’t pay any attention to him," the deacon replied. "All he does is go around and repeat everything he hears."


*****


Mark Twain attended a Sunday morning church service one time. He met the preacher at the door afterward and told him that he had a book at home with every word he had preached that morning. The minister assured him that the sermon was an original. Twain still held his position. The preacher wanted to see this book, so Twain said he would send it over in the morning. When the preacher unwrapped it he found a dictionary and in the flyleaf was written this: "Words, just words, just words."


****


Someone said, "Long-winded speakers exhaust their listeners long before the exhaust their subjects. Recognizing this danger, one speaker began his talk this way: ’I understand that it’s my job to talk to you. Your job is to listen. If you quit before I do, I hope you’ll let me know.’


Someone else said that some preachers preach "longhorn sermons." That is, a point here, a point there, and a lot of bull in between.


Well, Jesus never did that. He always delivered words that were worth paying attention to.


(From a sermon by Mark Opperman, "Learning to Pray" 1/12/2009)

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