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Whistle While You Work


Have you ever pictured the heroes of the faith walking down a dusty road, making their way from town to town? I mean when you think of all the ground people like Paul covered carrying the gospel from place to place, they had to have spent a significant time in transit!

When you see them walking, how do you imagine it? Is it always traveling with someone else, caught up in deep theological debate? Do you picture them laughing and joking, being one of the guys? Have you ever thought about them trudging along singing or whistling a tune?

The thought crossed my mind as I was preparing for this past week's sermon. One of the things that Paul does in 2 Timothy chapter 2 is to quote a hymn. I caught myself stopping and asking why would Paul quote a hymn? He could have just as easily put the ideas into his own words and spilled it out for You, me, and Timothy, but he chose to quote a hymn.

I know from time to time, when the subject matter lends itself, I will work a few lines from a song into my own sermons. Why? Well, we remember songs. Often times when I use music to make a point, I will have people come up after the sermon and make comments about how they know or like the song I used. I know throughout the week as I prepare the lesson, I will find myself singing and humming along to the song.

It seems to be an almost universal truth that God made us to be a people who relate and remember things through music. So why should we be surprised when the Apostle Paul makes us of the same technique when writing to the people of his time. If they remembered the song, then they just might remember what Paul is trying to teach them as well.

For us, almost 2,000 years later, the hymn Paul uses isn't quite so catchy. After all it's been translated out of the original language which messes with any rhyme and meter that may have existed in the original language. But in his day couldn't you see the people back in Ephesus heading off to work after Timothy had shared the letter. Tanning hides, building homes, baking bread, gathering crops, and in the back of their mind a little tune comes to mind, and before they even realize it, they find themselves singing under their breath, humming along, or whistling out that tune.

Maybe this week's blog is a little less connected to the weekly message than some we have tried to put out over the last several weeks. But I thought it was a pretty cool reminder for us as Christians to be cognizant of what it is that we pour into our minds with media and music, what goes in eventually comes out.

Let's feed our minds the good things we are blessed to have access to like Christian music (in whatever form you like-hymns, gospel, contemporary, rap, etc.). Perhaps we will be a little surprised when we find ourselves busy with a task, and the tune we are whistling gives God the opportunity to minister to our hearts.

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