What did Solomon mean when he spoke of “a time to keep silence” in Ecclesiastes 3:7? One writer answers this question by pointing out that there is “a foolish silence, a sullen silence, a cowardly silence, and a despairing silence. None of these is to recommended. However, there is a prudent, holy, gracious silence to which Scripture enjoins us.”
If we do not learn to practice this kind of restraint, we will speak injurious words that stir up anger (Proverbs 15:1) and use harsh, uncontrolled language (Prov. 21:23). Unguarded lips always lead to serious consequences. Someone has listed six mischievous “Misses” that result: Miss Information, Miss Quotation, Miss Representation, Miss Interpretation, Miss Construction, and Miss Understanding. They are the result of talking when we should be quiet.
What power there is in the silence of self-control! John Wesley observed this in a disagreement between two women. One was speaking vehemently and gesturing wildly, while the other stood perfectly stilltranquil and unperturbed. Finally the first woman stamped her foot and shouted, “Speak! so I can have something more to say to you!” Wesley commented, “That was a lesson to me: Silence is often the best answer.” -H.G.B.
In his book, I Almost Missed The Sunset, Bill Gaither writes:
Gloria and I had been married a couple of years. We were teaching school in Alexandria, Indiana, where I had grown up, and we wanted a piece of land where we could build a house. I noticed the parcel south of town where cattle grazed, and I learned it belonged to a 92-year-old retired banker named Mr. Yule. He owned a lot of land in the area, and word was he would sell none of it. He gave the same speech to everyone who inquired: “I promised the farmers they could use it for their cattle.”
Gloria and I visited him at the bank. Although he was retired, he spent a couple of hours each morning in his office. He looked at us over the top of his bifocals.
I introduced myself and told him we were interested in a piece of his land. “Not selling,” he said pleasantly. “Promised it to a farmer for grazing.”
“I know, but we teach school here and thought maybe youd be interested in selling it to someone planning to settle in the area.”
He pursed his lips and stared at me. “Whatd you say your name was?”
“Gaither. Bill Gaither.”
“Hmmm. Any relation to Grover Gaither?”
“Yes, sir. He was my granddad.”
Mr. Yule put down his paper and removed his glasses. “Interesting. Grover Gaither was the best worker I ever had on my farm. Full days work for a days pay. So honest. Whatd you say you wanted?”
I told him again.
“Let me do some thinking on it, then come back and see me.”
I came back within the week, and Mr. Yule told me he had had the property appraised. I held my breath. “How does $3,800 sound? Would that be okay?”
If that was per acre, I would have to come up with nearly $60,000! “$3,800?” I repeated.
“Yup. Fifteen acres for $3,800.”
I knew it had to be worth at least three times that. I readily accepted.
Nearly three decades later, my son and I strolled that beautiful, lush property that had once been pasture land. “Benjy” I said, “youve had this wonderful place to grow up through nothing that youve done, but because of the good name of a great-granddad you never met.”
“A good name is more desirable than great riches; to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.” (Prov. 22:1).
You got it from your father,
it was all he had to give
So its yours to use and cherish,
for as long as you may live.
If you lose the watch he gave you,
it can always be replaced.
But a black mark on your name, son,
can never be erased.
It was clean the day you took it,
and a worthy name to bear.
When he got it from his father,
there was no dishonor there.
So make sure you guard it wisely,
after all is said and done.
Youll be glad the name is spotless,
when you give it to your son.