Volume vs. Substance

empty vesselsThe morning coffee drinkers at Fitch’s Store often contribute folk sayings and witticisms to our cogitations. One such phrase recently surfaced: “Empty vessels make the most noise.” The analogy refers to the principle in physics that empty containers create louder noises than filled ones. In relation to people, perhaps you have noticed that at times those with the least knowledge speak the most, speak the loudest, and create the most fuss? They substitute volume for substance in an attempt to make their point.

I grew up in a culture where emotional displays were a normal part of social interaction. Vociferous proclamations were often used in place of reasoned discourse. At times, heated arguments could even erupt into violence. Mountain feuds like the Hatfields and McCoys would be an example of my cultural roots.

The religious communities were not exempt from this phenomenon. In some of the churches, the measure of spirituality was how loud and animated the preacher and congregations were. I frequently wondered if many of these boisterous folks were “empty vessels”. Observations of these same folks in everyday life caused me to call into question the fullness of God’s spirit in them. I remember hearing my grandmother say, “It’s not how high you jump, but how straight you walk when you hit the ground that really matters”.

Hear the wisdom of Solomon on the matter, “Whoso boasteth himself of a false gift is like clouds and wind without rain” (Proverbs 25:14). Peter says of such people, “These are wells without water…” (2 Peter 2:17). They are in fact empty vessels and would be well advised to remain quiet unless they have real knowledge to offer.

James gives this advice, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:19, NIV). It is true even in Christian circles: “Empty vessels make the most noise”

Prayer: Lord, let us share our faith in Christ from a full heart. “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” (Luke 6:45, NIV).

~ Brother Roy

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