Two Eyes and a Mouth

During our recent visit to Hawaii, Janet and I visited several plantations including the Dole Pineapple Plantation in the center of Oahu, about halfway between Honolulu and the north shore of the island. It was quite an experience and we learned more about growing and harvesting pineapples that one would think possible. For example, we have always cut the top off a pineapple but we learned that twisting the greenery off is both easier and preserves more of the fruit than cutting it off. Who would have thought?

And just when we thought we couldn’t learn anything else new about the products of Hawaii, we visited another plantation on Maui – this one specialized in flowers, various fruits and coconuts. At one point during our tour of the plantation by tram, we learned about how to open a coconut. Now this brought back great memories for me – my father loved fresh coconut and so every so often he would go to the store and buy one to bring home. He had this hammer and a 16 penny nail that he used to puncture the indentations on the end of the shell – and then he poured out the milk and finally tried to smash the shell to get to the “meat.”

Well, we learned there is an easier way to get to the center of the coconut. Each shell has two “eyes” and a “mouth.” While the eyes are hard and difficult to penetrate, the “mouth” is very soft – in fact, it is the most vulnerable part of the whole shell. Soft pressure will cause the “mouth” to open and you can pour the mild right out. Then, you can hold the coconut between the “eyes”, follow the ridge and gently strike it with a stone. The whole things opens up without much effort at all. Both Janet and I were amazed at the ease with which our guide demonstrated the technique. The most interesting part of the entire presentation was that the whole process depends on the vulnerability of the “mouth.” The rest was easy…

I got to thinking about this whole idea. Isn’t it the same with us? The Bible is full of verses that have to do with the evil ways of the mouth and the tongue. Sure, there are verses about praise and worship of God, but most of the references to the tongue talk about deceit and deception. And it all happens because we leave ourselves vulnerable because we don’t know when to keep our mouths closed! The reminder of the coconut really drove the point home for me – we must each protect our mouths and tongues because they are the most vulnerable part of our bodies.

The verse this evening is a very simple one, a warning to us from the brother of Jesus Himself. In James 1:26, we are told, “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.” Strong words from James, who never seemed to have a difficult time telling it like it is. My encouragement this evening is that too many times we use our tongues to lash out at others when there are far better ways to honor the Father – and if we stand back and think about alternatives, we will quickly see that anger, evil and cruelty are not the right tools to demonstrate our love of God. My prayer is that you will consider a kinder, gentler approach when speaking with others. Now that you know that the tongue is the most vulnerable part of the body, God expects us to amp up our game. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…

 
 
 
 

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