They’re leading a Chaplain, a Gunner and an Engineer to the guillotine. They ask the Chaplain if he wants to face up or face down when he meets his fate. The Padre said that he would like to be face up so he would be looking toward heaven when he died. They raised the blade of the guillotine and released it. It came speeding down and suddenly stopped, just inches from his neck. The authorities took this as Divine Intervention and released him. Next, the Gunner came to the guillotine, and he also decided to die facing up, hoping he would be as fortunate as the Padre. So the blade of the guillotine was raised again, and released. It came speeding down and suddenly stopped just inches from his neck, so he was released as well. The Engineer was next, and he too decided to die facing up. They slowly raised the blade of the guillotine, when suddenly the engineer said, “Hey, I see what the problem is…”
Lent is all about giving things up – so maybe the message here is that we need to learn to give up ‘speaking before thinking’! We may be anxious to share with people just how much we know, but sometimes things are better left unsaid! Rarely will keeping quiet get us into trouble (though it can happen), but often we find ourselves getting into trouble by saying something that should have gone unsaid!
One of my favourite proverbs is found in Proverbs 17:28
“Even fools are thought to be wise when they keep silent:
when they keep their mouths shut, they seem intelligent.”
So, when you are about to open your mouth today and say something you may later regret, stop for a moment, consider the implications and make sure it’s the wise thing to do.
Chaplain Ian Whitley