Acts 21:37 & 22:2 -
37 As the soldiers were about to take Paul into the barracks, he asked the commander, “May I say something to you?”
“Do you speak Greek?” he replied. 38 “Aren’t you the Egyptian who started a revolt and led four thousand terrorists out into the wilderness some time ago?”
39 Paul answered, “I am a Jew, from Tarsus in Cilicia, a citizen of no ordinary city. Please let me speak to the people.”
After receiving the commander’s permission, Paul stood on the steps and
motioned to the crowd. When they were all silent, he said to them in
1 “Brothers and fathers, listen now to my defense.”
2 When they heard him speak to them in Aramaic, they became very quiet.
It is important to not check your brain out at the door with your faith. It's not all about having a good heart I guess is what I'm trying to say. Remember, a facet of the Great Commandment is to love the Lord your God with "all your mind". Worshiping the Lord with our mental and logical self brings him great pleasure. But more than that, it lays a groundwork of respect in our interactions with society at large.
I fear that the church has let themselves off the hook in the area of academics and scholarship. We focus so much on the heart and the attitudes that we forsake the preeminent value of the mind. In fact, often in the Bible the mind and heart are used interchangeably signifying God's desire to not divorce these two all-important faculties of faith.
But in the interest of time, I wanted to make a quick point.
I loved how the people became respectfully quiet at the point he spoke to them in Aramaic. It's one thing to "want to speak"--Paul said 'my I say something to you?' and 'let me speak to the people'--it's another thing to "have something to say". I remember someone saying that most people have nothing to say but won't stop talking. This is what I'm gettin' at.
I think people know when someone is credible and a part of that credibility comes from being studied, not just spirited. You don't just show up and know "Aramaic". You have to work hard for book smarts. I would submit to you that you don't just show up in our culture with a "good heart" and expect people to "listen" to you. Intellectual credibility is as important as spiritual credibility. You have to be a "workman that need not be ashamed rightfully dividing the word of truth". A workman. Slackers who study the art of Slackology can talk all they want, but people won't "quit themselves and listen". They just won't.
In order for people to listen you have to have something to say, and in order for you to have something to say you have to be a good thinker, and in order for you to be a good thinker you have to study, and in order for you to study you have to be a good student, and in order for you to be a good student you have to make time to challenge yourself and be curious about what you don't currently know.
And when it comes time to step on that platform and open your mouth, this "moment of truth" will actually be a "true moment". Because you can't fake presence, you can't fake truth. People have a crap detector that God gave them to sniff out fraudulent faith. The good part about this is that people can also tell and feel when the person who is standing before them is studied, spirited & storied. And when they come across this they get quiet and listen to what you have to say because you actually have something to say.
Don't just speak, say something.