It is an old saying and most of us have accepted its “truth” without question. Is a picture worth a thousand words? Just stop for a moment and think what these simple seven words are saying.
The story is from a court room setting. The jurors have been chosen and one woman steps forward and addresses the Judge. “Your Honor, I can’t serve on this jury for one look at the man and anyone would know he’s as guilty of sin.” The Judge puts his finger to his lips and said, “Shhhh, That’s not the defendant, that’s the district attorney”. Jesus said, “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment” (John 7:24).
The reason the saying is untrue is simple; hearing is not seeing and seeing is not hearing. The eye is not the ear and the ear is not the eye. You see with your eyes and hear with your ears. They are not in conflict with each other; they are just two different and distinct ways of receiving or giving information. The apostle Paul writes, “For the body is not one member but many. If the foot shall say, because I am not the hand, I am not of the body? If the ear shall say, because I am not the eye, am I not of the body . . . If the whole body were the eye, where were the hearing? The eye cannot say to the hand; (or the ear) I have no need of thee” (I Corinthians 12:14-20).
Paul’s illustration is simple. The body of Christ is the church and one member is not more needed or necessary than another. They are all part of the total function of the body and without even the members we care little about are still vital and necessary.
One of the most fatal diseases is pancreatic cancer, yet most of us would be hard pressed to verbally locate where the pancreas is or what it does. So it is with the eye and the ear. We think little about them till we lose them. They are the two most available means of communicating. Is one picture worth a thousand words, or a thousand words worth one picture? If your daughter is on a date and the boy gets overheated and wants to retire to the back seat, What picture would take the place of the word “NO?” Pictures are pictures and words are words and both are powerful and important.
If a picture are worth a thousand words, why did God give us his Word alone? Why did Jesus say, “It is the spirit that quickens; the flesh profits little. The words that I speak, they are spirit and they are life” (John 6:63).
When father returned from a business luncheon, his little boy ran to meet him. Unfortunately, daddy had over indulged in a mess of Limburger cheese. As the son jumped into his arms, the father emitted a rather impolite belch. The little boy squired free and ran to his mother yelling, “Mama, Mama, daddy’s dead and don’t know it.”
Another story is told of a husband that was a daily drunk. The wife decided to take things into her own hands. Since the path to their house ran through a graveyard, she hid behind a tombstone covering herself with a sheet. As he came stumbling along the way, singing one of his old Irish songs, she jumped out and yelled, “Boo!” He staggered and refocused his eyes and said, “Whooo are youuu?” She said in a loud angry tone, “I am the Devil!” He smiled as he put his arm around her sheet and said, “Come on hone with me, I married your sister!”
They tell of a final incident in the fabled life of Queen Victoria. A full dress royal parade had just been completed. The queen’s personal maid was helping her retire for the evening, when she said; “Tell me my Lady; did anything of a quaint unusual nature happen in the parade today? One that you might want to well remember?”
The elderly Queen-mother thought a moment and leaned back in a high back chair and smiled. “Yes, yes, there was a most wonderful incident today. I noticed a thin grubby faced miner following along on the backside of the crowded roadway. He was half waving and seemed to be waiting a chance to break through the lines. Suddenly, he darted through the mob, ducked under the arms of the Bobbies and jumped upon the running boards of my carriage. Two palace guards grabbed him, but I waved them aside with my hands.
His face was beautiful. The soot of coal had pitted every pore. His skin was terribly wrinkled with age like mine. There was a sparkle and twinkle in his eyes that were only made more beautiful with his tears. He grabbed me around the neck. I was startled but unafraid. I found my own arms moving about his dirty collar. Then he said what was in his heart, “Go it old’ girl, you’ve done it well!”
Three simple stories. Did I write them or tell them? Or did you see them or did you hear them? The Psalmist wrote, “I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are they works O God” (Psalms 139:14).