“A Picture is Worth a 1,000 Words.” Really?

I am cleaning out file cabinets of former classes I have taught. It’s one of those tasks aging parents ought to do because most of what we have accumulated through a lifetime of ministry and life are of little value to our children. And frankly, at this point in my life, they are of little value to me.

I will never again teach the five different communication / preaching / teaching and writing classes that I taught at the seminary in California. I am not likely to teach the two different church planting classes that I taught at one seminary in Chicago or the Evangelism class I taught at still another seminary in Chicago. Most the files associated with those classes, the articles, the exercises, the lecture notes, the supporting materials, etc. are all dross and excess space in a dust-collecting cabinet in my office. It’s time for them to go the way of the recycle bin.

But I did salvage one quote that I thought I would pass along. It is from a lecture that I attended as a student and then passed on to my students. I don’t know who said it, but it is a good reminder for preachers to work hard on their craft. Work hard to create pictures that make the word clear. Work hard to make images stick in the heart of the hearer. Work hard to insure that the sense of the text is conveyed in ways that place the congregation at the feet of Jesus as they listen. Here’s the quote:

“Give me a thousand words and I can give you:

The Lord’s Prayer,
The 23rd Psalm,
The Hippocratic Oath,
A Sonnet of Shakespeare,
The Preamble to the Constitution,
Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address,
and have enough left over for most of the boys scouts oath.

Let’s see you do that with one picture!

Preachers, make your words sing, for the glory of God.

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