The tongue as a rudder

By Gavin Davies on 7 February 2012

In the Bible, this guy James writes about the tongue, saying “a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong…

In the Bible, this guy James writes about the tongue, saying “a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong.” (James 3 verse 5). Rick Warren tweeted today “If you want to know where you’ll be in 5 yrs listen to what you talk about most now. ‘Your tongue is a rudder’”.

It got me thinking – what do I talk about?

Well, a lot of rubbish comes out of my mouth – stupid jokes, banter. Some cultural stuff of course – I talk about MMA, about what beers I like, and a LOT about tech and the Internet. Catch me in a thoughtful mood though, and I’ll talk about justice, about mercy, about Jesus, about worship, about feeding the hungry, about encouraging the disheartened.

So I suppose it’s a case of which way I want to go. I want my tongue to steer me well. Also in the Bible, in a letter to some people in Ephesus, the writer says “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.” (Eph 4:29). I easily forget that the things I say are important. I don’t think it’s arrogant to say that, I think everyone has something to say.

In a way, I’m encouraged because over the last few years since I started this seldom-updated blog, I have certainly become more focused on issues of justice, on knowing God, on living a life of integrity, than I was before. Short term, I’m moving my money out of a bank that I feel is misinvesting it but there is so much more to be done if I am truly to take the responsibility I have to the poor seriously. In other ways, it’s a challenge because I know I’m still full of pride, bluster, arrogance and some of my words are really out of line with my core beliefs in that they can be unkind and abrupt.

So hopefully, in the 5 years that Rick refers to, I’ll be more involved with working for justice than just online campaigns and the occasional protest march. Hopefully I will know God far more deeply and be more obedient to what He wants – Micah 6:8 “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”. And that’s what I want too. With most of my heart. And I WANT TO want it with ALL my heart.