On November 19, 1863, two well-known men gave speeches at the dedication of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The featured speaker, Edward Everett, was a former congressman, governor, and president of Harvard University. Considered one of the greatest orators of his day, Mr. Everett delivered a formal address lasting 2 hours. He was followed by President Abraham Lincoln, whose speech lasted 2 minutes.
Today, Lincoln’s speech, the Gettysburg Address, is widely known and quoted, while Everett’s words have almost been forgotten. It is not just Lincoln’s eloquent brevity that accounts for this. On that occasion, his words touched the wounded spirit of a nation fractured by civil war, offering hope for the days to come.
Words do not have to be many to be meaningful. What we call the Lord’s Prayer is among the shortest and most memorable of all the teachings of Jesus. It brings help and healing as it reminds us that God is our heavenly Father whose power is at work on earth, just as it is in heaven (Matt. 6:9-10). He provides food, forgiveness, and fortitude for each day (vv.11-13). And all honor and glory belong to Him (v.13). There is nothing in our past, present, and future that is not included in our Lord’s brief words that help and heal.
And give little thought to the things you say;
So willingly yield your lips to the Lord
And hearts will be blest by them every day. —D. DeHaan