Talking with your mouth full is gross. At least for the person watching it. You see half chewed food crumbling around in the person’s mouth and tumbling onto the table. Plus you can’t always understand them and you’re distracted by the whole situation. I had a grandfather who, God rest his soul, was about the best (worst?) mouthful talker I’ve known. I’m guilty of it too, though I’m trying to get better at the, um, shall we say nudging, of my wife.
What does such a vivid and gross thing have to do with our spiritual lives and why would I bring it up? I’m thinking about meditation today. Particularly Psalm 1. Here’s the first part:
Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.
When I think of our daily devotional lives – the time and effort we spend to strengthen and deepen our souls – I wonder how many of us are more like mouth-full talkers than like those who savor their food and speak when it’s time? Are we really meditating on who God is and what that means for our lives? Are we taking the necessary time and focus to get to a state of mind and heart where we are receiving from God the truly life-giving stuff He has for us?
When we’re not, it’s kind of like talking with our mouths full. We may read a few scriptures and pray a few short prayers – but we’re not savoring it. We’re not allowing God’s word to shape and change us. Instead, we’re rushing to get on with what we want. What we want to say. What we want to do with our day. What if, instead, we slowly chewed on the beautiful and tasty food God has laid before us in his word?
According to the Psalmist, and Jesus (who uses food analogies a lot) – and according to my life experience, when we feast on God, and savor His word – when we really dedicate ourselves in joyful faith, patient study and focused prayer – we are truly like trees planted by streams of water. Not only will we amazingly nourished, we will flourish. We will bear good fruit in season.
When Jesus uses vivid language (like with the pharisees), he’s trying to make a point. So let me try to follow that example. Do we want to be, for those around us, like a mouth-full talker, grossing everyone out? Or like a calm, patient, well-nourished friend who waits and savors, and when they speak, life comes forth?
Jesus, teach us to savor the delicious meal you set before us each day – in your word and in the beautiful remembrance of your sacrifice for us – the life-giving feast of your very self.
Grace and Peace,