EBS3: Don't Be a Big Mouth
Eric Butterworth Speaks: Essays on Abundant Living #3
Delivered by Eric Butterworth on May 3, 1975
In a number of instances Jesus told people, after some miraculous demonstration of help or healing, “See thou tell no man.”
Why did He do this? Did He fear opposition from His enemies? Did He wish to avoid publicity that broadcasting the news of these healings would bring to Him? It certainly can’t be true that Jesus was afraid, for we have the account of His going up to Jerusalem at Passover time when it was most likely He would be seen, even though it was well known that the Pharisees were planning to take Him and kill Him. He even went into the Temple, the most public place in the city, and taught openly. Thus it could not have been for fear that he imposed silence on people.
Was it a wish to avoid publicity? Did He wish knowledge to be confined to only a few individuals? Apparently just the opposite was true; for we see Him moving voluntarily from place to place as if to reach as many people as possible.
Jesus did not fear for His safety. The acceptable explanation of His mysterious request must be within the consciousness of the person helped.
The words we speak are creative. They create because they express thoughts; and it is the nature of mind to condense thoughts into form. Faith is also creative and the more we believe in things, the more quickly and positively they will become visible in our lives.
Jesus knew the law of mind—it was the whole foundation of His teaching. The afflictions He dealt with were considered incurable; they were rooted deeply in the mind of the blind man and leper as well as in the minds of the populace. His warnings were safeguards to those whom He had healed. Too much talk about the healing would hold the attention of everyone on the old condition—and tend to hold the individual in bondage. When Jesus said to the blind man at the Pool of Bethsaida, “Do not even enter into the village,” His advice was meant to keep the man away from the emotional excitement of the crowd who believed more in the disease than in the Christ power to overcome it.
When you have been praying for help or guidance or healing, and when a wonderful demonstration takes place, have you not found yourself happy and excited, wanting to shout it from the housetops? Here is a startling thought: your very attitude of excitement is an evidence of your lack of faith—you didn’t really believe it could happen. The healing has been of the grace of God—more in spite of your consciousness than because of it.
This is a sign that there is more work to be done to heal your personal consciousness and to accept the new, pure condition into being. During this period it is easy to slip back into the old attitude of sickness and want.
To get all excited about an overcoming, to talk about it, may well start the old process again, and the outer effects of this negative speaking may appear as a return of the previous condition. We read, “Behold, thou art made whole; sin no more, lest a worst thing befall thee.” Don’t make the mistake of rehearsing the experience for this is the sin of looking back. Stand still (don’t be a big mouth) in an attitude of gratitude and poise.
Does this mean that we are never to speak of the healings we have received? Not at all. Certainly we should share our experience with those who have been praying with us. Together, we can share the joyous outworking of good. But we should share prayer results only with those who can handle it in consciousness.
We need to work for a strong realization of what we have already received—that when the answer comes we are grateful but emotionally unmoved. This was the case of the little boy who said, “Of course I found my dog. I prayed, didn’t I?” We should become that childlike and expectant.
When you feel the need for prayer, this is an even more important time to “see thou tell no man.” The best way to compound your problem is to let all your friends know that you have a problem. Don’t even ask everyone to pray for you; be selective. If you want to pray effectively, you must share this desire only with those who have sufficient understanding to be a lifting power.
Once I had a young assistant minister who led a prayer group during the week. During one of the meetings he received word that one of the members had taken ill that day. He openly invited all of the members to pray about it. After the meeting several of the members rushed up to make such comments as, “Isn’t that a terrible thing...O, I am so worried...I do hope he recovers.” My assistant realized that he had broken an important link and had allowed for the dissipation of faith power.
If you have a problem, find a counselor or a close friend whose consciousness you respect, and make a covenant—an agreement to hold to the truth. Then, “see thou tell no man.” This will conserve the power.
Consider a wheel with twenty pipes as spokes. At the center is a motor which you need for some important function and at the end of each pipe is a powerful steam source. If you hook up only one of the spokes at the center, not only are you using only l/20th of the power, but the overwhelming balance of the power at your command is dissipated into the air. A steam boiler can generate an incredible amount of power, but for each small hole in the system its power is greatly reduced by waste. This is the type of dissipation that can happen to a strongly inspired idea.
We should carefully shield and conserve the embryonic ideas that come to us in prayer, and this is one of the most important implications of Jesus’ statement. Did you ever have a wonderful idea and run around tirelessly telling people about it, only to find that your book, or project, or plan has lost its impetus and has “died aborning”? You can kindle a fire by concentrating the sun’s rays on a given point with a magnifying glass—but not if you move the glass around. Then you produce no heat at all.
If you want to start an engine, you close all the outlets of the boiler and conserve the steam. A good tight boiler can run a locomotive at fast speeds with great loads, but a boiler with cracks will make a spectacular show of steam with no movement whatsoever. The train won’t even get started.
The time to talk about something you want to accomplish is when it is done and complete (of course then you won’t have to talk about it, for it will speak for itself). Of course, share your idea with those necessary to help you complete it; but then you are sharing it in the context of action and mobilization of energy and wisdom, not dissipation. Often ideas are passed on to committees for action. Here it is talked to death and nothing is ever done. The best way to destroy a project is to turn it over to a committee for action.
Talking about your plans before they have actually materialized is the surest way to destroy them. It is a universal law of nature that the unborn child is protected from all contact with the world: in fact this is the real function of motherhood. Inspiration that comes to you is your child; you are its mother; and nature intends that you should nourish and protect it up to the moment when it is ready to emerge upon the material plane. “And Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart.” The temptation to tell people is great, but it is better to follow the advice in Ecclesiastes: “To every thing there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven...a time to keep silence, and a time to speak.”
Some people claim that they never have any ideas, but this is like a steam boiler with cracks saying, “I never have any power.” Conserve your power. It is impossible even for a saint to talk beyond a certain point without saying something unkind or erroneous. Limit your conversation to that which is constructive.
Often a new student of Truth is so excited that he babbles all of his new-found conclusions to everyone he meets. “See thou tell no man” until you have converted your own mind, and then you won’t have to tell people. What you are will articulate what you believe better than anything you could possibly say. One student was approached recently with the statement, “If what you believe helps you to be the kind of person you are, I wish you would tell it to me.” Then, you can speak.
© 1975, by Eric Butterworth