"Less Is More"
A dear lady at a retirement community where we conduct services said to me, apologetically, "Glen, I am on some medication right now that makes me fall asleep. If that happens, during the service, please forgive me."
If that happened, there would, of course, be nothing to forgive. Indeed, no less than the Apostle Paul induced sleep in a young man influenced not by medicine, but by many words.
"And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead. And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him. When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed. And they brought the young man alive, and were not a little comforted" (Acts 20:9-12).
Every time I read this account, I'm struck by a thought: "If you're going to preach long and end up killing somebody, you'd better be able to raise the victim from the dead!" This reminds me of a friend whose seminary theology professor one day said to the class, "Gentlemen, if you can't say it in 20 minutes, what makes you think you can say it in 40?!" Seriously, I do not particularly mean this as a commentary on sermon length, but rather to suggest that we all consider the wisdom of Solomon: "Let thy words be few" (Ecclesiastes 5:2). Less is often more, and we often lose our audience when we succumb to the temptation to drone on and on (I'm sure you've felt this way with too many of these devotionals!).
This is especially true with Scripture. The power of God's Word means that quality must serve as our goal rather than quantity. We must trust that God's Spirit rather than our imagined eloquence applies the heart changing and mind illuminating Truth to human spirits. While infinite in its scope and measure, our Lord's light nevertheless shines most brightly when it seems to glimmer with a sublime simplicity. Fewer rather than more words most often ignites such illumination. Thus, we all do well to communicate God's Truth with less rather than more, and with quality rather than quantity.
"In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise."
"For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace."