If I heard it once I've heard it a million times and this week was no exception. In fact, the words have carelessly tumbled from my lips on many occasions, some of which have been perilously near the conclusion of my sermons. Most preachers never conclude their sermons, they just quit when they cannot indulge the congregation another minute longer.
Someone once asked a famous preacher what it meant when he said, "Now, in conclusion ..." He thought for a moment and then replied, "nothing."
Preachers are not the only ones inflicted with this verbosity virus. Watching a news broadcast lately, I heard a politician tumble headlong into the same abyss; "We're going to make some changes around here," he proclaimed, "and that's my final word on the subject."
It doesn't really matter which politician pontificated thusly, for all of them have said it at one time or another and usually it is never their "final word" on any subject.
Several things are wrong with that statement.
First, when a politician uses the word "we're" he never means to include himself. It's just a word he uses to confuse the subject at hand. Someone once made this observation, "if all the politicians were laid end to end I would not be surprised."
Secondly, the only change most politicians are interested in is the change in my pocket. They have committees devoted to figuring out how they can change the change in my pocket to their pockets. The slickness to which they do this is most remarkable.
Thirdly, there is no such thing as a "final word" among politicians. Every politician insists on having the last word on any subject even though he knows nothing about the subject at hand.
The entire political sorority has one brain, which they share. The Democrats have the left side, the Republicans have the right side and they have one intent; mouth in motion at all times. When a politician has nothing to say you can be sure he will say it most profusely.
Every politician has two sides, before election and after election. What a politician says before being elected has absolutely no relationship with what he or she will say after election. The only thing absolutely certain is the newly-elected politician will have a lot to say, but not much.
Once elected their only strategy is to stay elected. They will do everything and anything to get my vote. I vote they all be elec-tro-cuted. Nothing would be cuter.
One thing that can be said about the political institution in our country, it is an equal opportunity liars club. Women have as much opportunity to join this truth-challenged extravaganza as the men.
I don't know who makes better liars, men or women. The feminine side of this auspicious group has made miraculous progress in catching up to their male counterparts. They both seemed quite adept to the practice.
Many elected officials go to great lengths to keep their constituency from knowing where they stand on the issues. They are seated on committees so they don't have to reveal where they stand. They are good at sitting and pontificating but bad when it comes to standing for anything, which makes them believe their constituency will fall for anything. And we usually do.
The lawmakers of our day are great "change agents," to use a contemporary phrase. Their opinion on important issues changes with every new poll published. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your point of view, for our friendly politicians, opinion polls can be given every hour on the hour.
And of course, the more important the issue the more the politician reforms his opinion. A politician should have the cleanest mind in our country because they change it so much. Unfortunately, the exchange is usually down.
Perhaps the best final words any politician could utter are, "I won't run again." Usually when a politician says this, it means he's currently running from something or someone.
Regrettably, the only change that comes with a new election is the name on the office door of the public servant.
The bolts and nuts of our political system can be boiled down to; the politicians bolt for or from any excuse and we are nuts for electing them to any office.
I sometimes get weary of all this superfluous change. It is true, the more things change the more they remain the same. What I want to change never does and what I don't want to change does.
You can imagine what comfort I get from the Bible that never changes despite the efforts of some people. Two verses are particularly comforting to me.
One from the Old Testament: "For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed." (Malachi 3:6 KJV.)
One from the New Testament: "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and forever." (Hebrews 13:8 KJV.)
When it comes to final words, I want that word to come from someone who will not capriciously change that word and upset my life. I can always trust Jesus Christ to give me a word I can always count on.