LOOKING UP: Whom do you quote?
Sunday, 29 April 2012 by JOE BAISDEN
What are your favorite quotes? From whence do they come?
Years ago, on my first Sunday as minister of a church in a small South Texas town, I visited an adult Bible class. Near the close of the allotted time, the teacher affirmed, "The Bible says, 'Cleansiness is next to godliness.'" (Cleanliness spelled like he said it.)
Immediately, the hand of a lady in the group went up as she said, "Brother _____, that's not in the Bible!"
"Oh, yes it is," he replied.
"Book, chapter, and verse?" she inquired.
He stammered a bit, not being able to give the location; then promised to bring the answer to class the next Sunday. It was going to be a long week of his expending efforts that would end in futility. That quote is not in the Bible.
Neither is "Every tub should sit on its own bottom;" however, if Ezekiel 18 doesn't say that, what does it say?
I like to quote Lincoln, perhaps because so much of his wisdom and phraseology are rooted in his amazing knowledge of the Bible. "A house divided against itself cannot stand," appeared in a speech of his in 1858, and became a quote often attributed to Lincoln. Actually, Jesus beat him to it — see Matt. 12:25 and Mark 3:25.
Lincoln was a master at quoting the Bible. In May of 1864, there was a convention that convened in Cleveland to nominate Gen. John C. Fremont for president in opposition to the reelection of Lincoln for a second term. Thousands were expected to attend, but only about 400 showed up. Hearing about the count, and probably relieved that the threat against him had somewhat fizzled, Lincoln drew a comparison to a gathering described in the Bible when David escaped to the Cave of Addullam: "And every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and everyone that was discontent, gathered themselves unto him; and he became a captain over them; and there were with him about four hundred men" (1 Sam. 22:2).
When I came to Belton in 1971, I had the privilege of getting to know the legendary Dr. J. W. Pittman. A world of wisdom was contained in many of his amusing quotes. One of my favorites is: "Too durn much of anything gets to me more than enough!" Think about it.
My son Donnie, in the throes of the business world, tells me that he often quotes his Granddad (my father W. J. Baisden), whose suggested solution to most problems that arise was: "Keep your mind on your business!"
Many a parent today is learning the truth of Shakespeare's words from King Lear: "How sharper than a serpent's tooth it is/To have a thankless child!"
A heart full of quotes from the Bible can fortify us from all kinds of temptations. The Bible says so in Psalm 119:11 — "I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against You." A good one to call up at decision-making time is Prov. 3:5-6—"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding: in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight."
"Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget My words or swerve from them." – Prov. 4:4