by Tim Patterson

PLYMOUTH, MI – Have you noticed that all of the sudden it seems as though everyone has become an "authority" on everything? You can ask the average "Bubba" on the street what he thinks is the answer to the situation in Palestine, and he will most likely give you exacting and definitive steps to deal with the problem. Now, of course, it doesn't matter if you offered him $1000, he couldn't locate this little country on a map, but he does have the right answers for this ancient conflict. In fact, he has the right answer for everything. Just ask him.

If you present this individual with a medical problem, he will probably be able to diagnose and give what he knows is a proper treatment for the ailment, even though he couldn’t tell you the difference between a stethoscope and a periscope.

Politics, religion, education, business, etc. It doesn't matter what subject, everyone seems to have the right answer.

I can hear some of you out there right now saying,"Well, don't we all have the right to an opinion?" Sure, you do but that doesn't mean the world needs to be blessed with it or that those in leadership in this community, country or for that matter, our convention, needs to be bludgeoned by it.

A fellow once told me that people have a lot in common when it comes to opinions and armpits. We all have a couple of them and they both usually stink!

Some have come to believe that social media has not only given them the right to express their opinions about anything or anyone, but it has demanded that they do so. As a result, many believe and receive as fact the preponderance of postulations and platitudes that are proclaimed.

An old cowboy saying is that, before you ingest or eat something it’s not as important to know what it is but it’s really important to know what it was.

I am fully convinced and fearful that too many good Christian brothers and sisters are ingesting any and everything they receive from media sources because it seem enticing in its present form without looking closely at its source.

My father was a good and hardworking man that provided well for his family within the means that he possessed. He only attained an 8th grade formal education, but he received a PHD from the educational system of life. One of the words of wisdom that he shared with many was, “Don’t ever believe anything you hear and only half of what you see.”

Opinions are best when they are filtered through the good and Godly standards we find in God's Word. If we would just be obedient to God's command to, "Let this mind be in you which is also in Christ Jesus." Phil 2:5, just think of the difference that would make in your life and the life of others.

I am fully convinced that God is not concerned with our opinions. He wants us to know His mind, (His desire and will) and to live accordingly. In the grand scheme of all of eternity, our opinions don't really matter. His does! Proverbs 17:28 tells us, "Even a fool, when he keeps silent, is considered wise; When he closes his lips, he is counted prudent."

Now that verse gives a great deal of hope to a multitude of us here in this great family, we call Southern Baptist. If we can just keep our mouths shut, others might think we are pretty smart. My dear friend and partner in ministry, Mike Durbin, taught me to use the acronym, WAIT.

In any debate or conversation, he tells himself to WAIT and ask: Why Am I Talking? Good and godly advice from a good and godly man.

Then next time you hear one of those "specially appointed, I'm right and you're wrong" guys begin to spout their perfected insight, just remember what God thinks about it. HIS is the only opinion that matters.

And for those of you who are in leadership, there will always be those with their opinions. Just remember, their opinions have a great deal in common with armpits.



Tim Patterson is Executive Director/Treasurer of the Baptist State Convention of Michigan. Elected unanimously in May of 2015, Patterson formerly served for 9 years as pastor of Hillcrest Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Fla. He also served as trustee chair and national mobilizer for the North American Mission Board.



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