“It is better to have less thunder in the mouth and more lightning in the hand” – Apache

 

  There exists many wise sayings by native Americans and this is certainly one of them.  We have similar clichés that we are more familiar with but basically mean the same thing- “Actions speak louder than words”, and “Practice what you preach” and “Walk the talk” to name just a few. Somehow though, I prefer the Apache quote over the rest.


Perhaps it is because the phrase “thunder in the mouth” so accurately describes how so many of us can operate. Lots of noise with our lips however rarely accomplishes what our hands can with action. Simply put, we need to live our words. However, to quote another cliché….easier said than done.


When I think about some of the wisest folks that I know, I find it interesting that many of them are quiet natured people. They do not often have a whole lot to say but their very lives make a statement. They teach not with words but with their testimony which can be an enormous lesson for each of us.


During all of this snow that we have recently had, I witnessed an incident that may seem trivial to some but spoke volumes to me. I was sitting at a stop sign in my neighborhood and observed a brother and sister making a snow man and playing together in their front yard. They were both little….the brother seemed to be about six years old and his little sister about four. I saw no adults anywhere outside with them. As I sat there for a second at the stop sign, I noticed that the little sister was closer to the curb and the street than her older brother was. I also noticed a man walking down the sidewalk approaching the front yard where the two siblings were playing. He had athletic gear on and appeared to be power walking for exercise and he seemed oblivious to the little ones playing. The older brother did not notice that however as I witnessed him do something that was very touching. As the walking man came closer to their yard, the little guy jumped up and ran to his little sister, grabbed her hand and brought her back closer to the house where he was playing. He even stood in front of her until the man passed by their house. Once the man was a good distance past their yard, I saw him say something to his sister which apparently was “permission” if you will to return to where she was originally playing because after he spoke to her, she skipped back to the front area of the yard. I was moved by his protective care of his little sister particularly since he was such a little tyke himself. His simple and quick action spoke volumes and yet he said nothing. He could have yelled and whined and bossed her with many words but he didn’t…he just acted.

That is just one small example of acting quietly and quickly without lots of loud words. We have many opportunities in our lives to do the same… using lightning in our hands instead of thunder in the mouth…a challenge we need to be willing to meet!

Proverbs 10:14 – Wise men lay up knowledge : but the mouth of the foolish is near destruction