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“In all this I have given you an example that by such work we must support the weak, remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, for he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’”
Acts 20:35

Although my father died many years ago I still hear his voice. In a way I feel my father is with me. I do that because my father had wonderful sayings that live in me. My dad never set me down and said, “I want to teach you,” but in the course of everyday life he passed on wisdom of the ages. He might do it while clearing the dinner table, playing catch, putting me to bed, or riding in the car. Now, many years later, I can hear my father saying:

  • “Just begun is half done.”
  • “Many hands make much work light.”
  • “Never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.”
  • “Waste not, want not.”
  • “We live and learn.”
  • “There’s a big demand for good boys.”
  • “If you ever get into trouble you can always come to me.”

Like Mark Twain said, tongue in cheek, I too am amazed at how much my father learned since I was fourteen. My dad’s sayings still guide and encourage me, and often help me pick up broken pieces. I think of my father’s sayings as “time released capsules” making more and more sense to me with time passing.

What do I mean by the word “saying”? My dictionary defines “saying” as: “a short, pithy expression that generally contains advice or wisdom.” Jesus also had short, pithy sayings people keep on remembering; sayings like, “Go the extra mile,” “Turn the other cheek,” “Render unto Caesar,” and “Don’t cast your pearls before swine.”

Long before the Gospels were written or were ever collected in one volume, people passed down sayings of Jesus. At the top today’s eVotional is a ‘Jesus Saying’ Paul quotes to Christians in far-off Ephesus: “…remembering the words of the Lord Jesus, for he himself said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive. The Ephesians likely did not have Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, or His Upper Room Discourse, but they did know many of His short, pithy sayings.

As I think of the lasting power of sayings for people, I think of the psalmist who wanted to pass on life wisdom to his children and grandchildren. Consider the psalmist’s words in Psalm 78:1-4:

1 Give ear, O my people, to my teaching;
incline your ears to the words of my mouth.
2 I will open my mouth in a parable;
I will utter dark sayings from of old,
3 things that we have heard and known,
that our ancestors have told us.
4 We will not hide them from their children;
we will tell to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might,
and the wonders that he has done.
(Psalm 78:1-4)

Note that the psalmist says he will tell godly wisdom to “the coming generation” in “a parable” and “dark sayings”, which are translated elsewhere as “riddles” (see Psalm 49:4). The psalmist knows children and youth like sayings or riddles that make them think. So too, Solomon labored in the Book of Proverbs to craft short, pithy sayings that his children would ponder and remember.

All of this leads me to ask myself, and to ask you, what “sayings” have been powerful in our lives? What sayings would you like to pass on to others? What sayings do you want your children and friends to remember as they talk about you?

Our words are powerful for building up and tearing down. In fact, Solomon even came up with a saying about that! “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21).

Thanks Dad for passing on to me sayings that are still guiding me today! I want to pass them on to others!

Grace and peace,

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