“Sing to the LORD a new song; sing to the LORD, all the earth (Psalm 96:1).”
How’s this for an oxymoron? As I get older, I have discerned that I am pretty thick. The title of Jethro Tull’s infamous song and album “Thick as a Brick” comes to mind.
Speaking of discernment, who can figure out the meaning of the lyrics of some songs? Ian Anderson’s “Thick as a Brick” is 45 minutes long and is thought according to one essay I read about the lyrics to be a diatribe against the power brokers in society. But who really knows except the author?
Discernment is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “the quality of being able to grasp and comprehend what is obscure.” Other variants of the term include “a power to see what is not evident to the average mind”.
I must have a pretty average mind. One thing I know about it, though, is that it tends to aim for one purpose at a time. It doesn’t have the ability to multitask very well. As a result, I tend to get locked in on something I want and ignore the desires and needs of others. My mind is selfish, and I am thoughtless when it comes to others.
This insufficient alertness to the needs of others plays itself out at its worst in my family. My wife knows I’m dense. She has lived with me for 26 years. She is teaching me to me more considerate and I am willing to at least, finally, to get the message. Even last night she made me think about something I had done involving one our kids, and after some reflecting in the shower I realized how thoughtless and selfish I had been. At least, for the first time perhaps ever, my thoughtlessness actually pained me.
My wife is teaching me how to treat her better. She knows I know nothing about women even after being married for a long time. However, I am beginning to learn one truth which the ancient group “The Mamas and the Papas” put forth in their song “Words of Love”:
“Words of love, so soft and tender,
Won’t win a girl’s heart anymore.
If you love her,then you must send her
Somewhere where she’s never been before.
Worn out phrases and longing gazes
Won’t get you where you want to go. (No!)
Words of love, soft and tender,
Won’t win her…”
The curmudgeon in me is learning that when it comes to women, actions speak louder than words. Spending an inordinate amount of time at work, whining about taking her shopping and not having the sense to ask her about her day won’t cut it.
As the Mamas and the Papas wrote:
“You oughta know by now (you oughta know by now).
You oughta know (you oughta know);
You oughta know by now— (you oughta know by now)
Words of love, soft and tender,
Won’t win her anymore.”
It has taken me a long time, and I should have known before now, but having a way with words isn’t good enough in a relationship. Practical love has to be thought out and implemented, also.
We humans can be downright ignorant and unwise. Instead of thinking about and doing the unselfish, our minds wander to our own fantasies and adventures (Proverbs 17:24). We choose not to be aware of the interests of others, and more importantly, of God.
There will be a day when God brings in His kingdom for good. But a good number of us on this earth are ignoring this and will continue to do so. Right before the time Jesus begins to reign here, God will send a couple of prophets who will testify of His kingdom and who will have a lot of power to inflict judgment on people. Yet, when they are killed people will rejoice, that is until the prophets get the last laugh and are resuscitated and taken up to heaven before their eyes. Then they’ll be terrified (Revelation 11:3-13).
Ian Anderson wrote in “Thick as a Brick”:
“My words but a whisper, your deafness a shout
I may make you feel but I can’t make you think”.
Sometimes God and others have to inflict pain on us to get us to pull our heads out of the sand. It’s time we finally wake up and sing a new song to them. It’s never to late to thoughtfully consider the interests of God and our loved ones, and make this a continual practice.