I must admit that I do gravel a lot in thinking about my thoughts. It has been a habit of mine down through the years. Thinking is what really makes life worth living, or so I believe.
My father had a saying whenever he saw me staring off into the distance, “A penny for your thoughts, son.” Then he would smile, and I knew he really was not interested in what I was thinking he was just trying to set some kind of trap for me. Fortunately, I never fell into that trap, whatever it was. Of course, at the time I could’ve used an extra penny.
I have discovered two kinds of people in this world; one who talks all the time and one who listens. Of course, there is that third category of people who don’t do either.
I have tried to balance this throughout my life. I have tried to talk when necessary and listen when necessary. However, my biggest flaw is that I listen when I should be talking, and I talk when I should be listening. If this isn’t frustrating, I do not know what is.
The big challenge is to know when to listen and when to talk. As I get older, I find myself talking more than I’m listening. This, in and of itself, gets me into more trouble than I can handle.
The other day, my wife and I were watching a little television, and she was telling me about an incident that day. She paused and then said, “Are you listening to me?”
Stuttering a little bit, I said, “Why, yes, I’m listening to you.”
“Okay,” she said, “what was I talking about?”
At that point, I knew I was in trouble because I may have been listening to her, but I did not really hear what she had to say.
It is not that I do not want to listen to my wife; I sometimes forget to pay attention. After all, when you are as broke as I am, paying attention is very difficult. I do try to save pennies on rainy days so that I can occasionally afford to pay attention.
The other day I got caught in a trap. I should know better, but sometimes I let my guard down, and there it is, I am stuck.
We again were watching a little television, and I, for some reason, was staring off into outer space. My wife noticed that, and then she said, “A penny for your thoughts.”
Without thinking, and I do this quite a bit, I replied, “You don’t have enough pennies for what I’m thinking.” I don’t know why I said it. Maybe I was trying to make a joke. Regardless of the reason, I was in deep trouble.
She stared at me for a few moments, and then both of us broke down in laughter. I will not reveal what she said next, but it was appropriate.
In my quiet time this morning, I thought about that incident. I thought about how important thoughts are. Then I thought about what David said, “How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!” (Psalm 139:17).
However important my thoughts may be, the most important thoughts are the thoughts God has concerning me. Searching the Scriptures, I begin to see what God thinks about me.
Dr. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, Ocala, Fla.