Big Things in Small Packages
If we put bits into the mouths of horses so that they obey us, we guide their whole bodies as well. Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!
Have you ever heard the phrase, “Big things come in small packages”? Oftentimes, it is true. Have you ever been to a dog park? In a big group of dogs it’s not always the biggest dog who is the toughest. Sometimes it’s the small dog who runs the show. Small dog but big influence and control.
Consider a group of ants. They are very small creatures but when they get together they can accomplish a lot. Some types of ants can take down a whole tree through their constant eating away of the wood.
Sometimes big things do come in small packages.
James is saying the same thing here in reference to how we use our words. He speaks of the tongue to refer to this idea. The tongue is a very small part of our body but it has great power, influence, and control. He compares it to a fire. Fires usually start very small, but if they are not controlled and contained they can grow and grow to the point where millions of dollars of damage are done to a house, a shopping mall, or a huge section of a national park.
This is why children are always told not to play with matches. They are very small but if not properly used they could create unimaginable damage. In the same way, we should never play fast and loose with our words. We can’t ever take them back and if we are not careful our words can create profound hurt in the lives of those around us.
When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent. The tongue of the righteous is choice silver; the heart of the wicked is of little worth. The lips of the righteous feed many, but fools die for lack of sense.
• According to these verses, what is wise?
• What is of great value?
• How is nourishment found? How is death found?
Our Father, help us to be a blessing to others with our words. May they find life, nourishment, and wisdom. We know that when we have a lack of self-control with our words many harmful things can happen. Protect us from this. May we be quick to repent where we fail. We thank you for the forgiveness that you provide in Jesus’ life, death, and empty tomb. In Jesus’ name, Amen.