Summary: Friends have you had your buttons pushed lately? Is there a lesson about patience or disappointment that the Lord is trying to teach you?

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McButtons and McZippers

James 3

James 1:26

If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.

In the title of the sermon you will notice two words that are not found in the bible. I checked 14 different bible versions and nowhere are the words button or zipper found.

Since something is not in the bible does that mean that we should not use it?

Should we all go home and cut the buttons from off our pants and shirts or cut out the zippers from off our clothing? I think that would be a bad idea. I know that I for one need my buttons and need my zippers because they serve a purpose.

Not only do they keep my clothes fastened together they help keep my clothes from getting caught in things like car doors, drawers, and fences. Buttons and zippers really serve to protect us from embarrassment and injury.

But sometimes we use a phrase that identifies the power of the button when we say …he really knows how to push my buttons or she really knows which buttons to push.

Sometimes people seem to know your sensitivity to a topic or issue and can and will take advantage of it in order to get you to pop your button. Do you know anyone like this? Maybe you are good at getting someone else to pop their buttons without even knowing it.

The button is thought to have turned up around 2800 BC. The first button was worn by a guy named Clog who used it to fasten his pants after he realized he ate too many dinosaur ribs at the rib festival. His button was just a piece of bone with a hole in it but it was much easier to use than a piece of rope. (I made up the part about Clog)

But really buttons have been around for about 5,000 years in various shapes and sizes and in various cultures. It would seem that the entire world discovered that we all needed buttons.

Now the zipper is a different story. It first showed up in 1851 when a man in the United States Elias Howe invented hooks that ran along each side of the fabric and you then laced it together in order to keep the cloth closed. It was in 1914 that a Swedish inventor Gideon Sundback working for an American company came up with the modern zipper.

But what does all this talk of buttons and zippers have to do with the bible? Well I am sure many of you are familiar with the old adage …. Button your mouth or the more modern version … keep it zipped. These warning phrases came as a result of a lot of experience with both buttons and zippers. What our great, grandparents discovered was that accidents occurred when we failed to keep things buttoned up properly or zipped up securely. Some of us have paid dearly for not keeping our mouths buttoned up or zipped up.

In the back of our bibles is a book written by Jesus half brother James. James is a half brother because Jesus father was God and James father was Joseph but they were still brothers both born of Mary. James wrote a book that bares his name and in it he addresses the problem of the tongue.

James warns us in James 3:5

Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.

Now sometimes the fire we start can be a slow burn or if the forest has been without rain for awhile it can be a huge forest fire that can erupt, all set off by a single word. What a shame to loose all those trees a lifetime of growing gone up in flames.

James goes on to say in James 3:6

The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.

Maybe you know of someone who ruined their life because of something they said. Presidents, kings, Queens and common folk like us have all fallen victim to the destructive power of our own tongues.

Entire nations have been felled by a single loose word remember during world war two… loose lips sink ships. All we need do is read today’s headlines concerning our public figures and we can see the tragedy of a loose tongue.

Proverbs 21:23 He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from calamity.

This week I had an opportunity to test the strength of the bridle on my tongue. It was Wednesday morning and my wife thought it would be a good idea if I went to McDonald’s to fetch breakfast for her and our niece Janelle who is visiting from Arizona.

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