Out of the Abundance

“Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” – Matthew 12:34

Many things can characterize winter in Poland, but when I look back at my time there, I will always remember one thing—coal smoke.

One day as I was walking home from work I noticed a scene that was quite poignant. Three houses side by side were burning coal in their furnaces. Smoke was billowing out of the chimneys of each house, but each plume was a different color. The first chimney’s smoke was a dark dingy grey, while the second one was lighter but brownish in color and the last was a slightly off-white color. I was puzzled by this for a moment but then remembered something that my high school biology teacher had told us, “The quality of coal determines the amount of smoke it will produce. Cheap coal produces a lot of smoke; more expensive coal produces less.”

Another day I was walking in town and the coal smoke became unbearable. Someone was burning really low-grade coal and the smoke was practically suffocating. It was so thick that it obscured the path in front of me, making it hard to see. The smoke was so strong that I finally had to wrap my scarf around my mouth and nose to keep from breathing it in. The fire was supposed to provide welcomed warmth from the harsh weather, but instead it was intolerable. I hurried to get through the cloud of it as fast as I could!

A parallel can be drawn between the condition of the coal and the state of one’s heart. The quality of what a person has in his heart will be shown in his speech. If we allow questionable content to settle in our hearts, the evidence of it will show in the words that come out of our mouths.

Take a look at your speech today. What effect does it have on others? Does it, like the heavy coal smoke, suffocate the people around you? Does it make them hurry away from you? Does it hinder others instead of helping them? If this is the case, take time today to check the contents of your heart. Make sure you have good, quality fuel in your heart and your speech will show it.