Some of these “before” sayings have been around for generations, and, like old gold, keep their value. Then there are some new sayings that look like they could last for quite a while too.
SEVEN GOLDEN OLDIES:
“Look before you leap.” We’ve all heard that saying. Had I followed this bit of wise advice in the first year of our marriage, I would not have committed to buy that set of books we could not afford. We’ve probably all made the mistake of leaping into a project before checking it out. There are many other bits of similar advice.
“Measure before you cut” is excellent advice for every kind of craftsman, from seamstresses to carpenters. It goes along with saying such as “Measure twice, cut once,” and the chagrined exclamation, “I’ve cut this twice and it’s still too short!”
“Try before you buy” is good advice to follow when buying cars or clothes. But, when choosing a marriage partner, following this advice will have dire consequences.
“Think before you speak.” We’ve all heard that ever since we were kids. Now we can add writing, especially e-mails and tweets. Think first! As a similar saying has it, “Speak in anger (and thoughtlessly) and you’ll make the best speech you’ll ever regret.”
“Experience before you criticize” is well-stated in the First Nations proverb, “Walk a mile in the other person’s moccasins before you criticize them.”
“Listen before you speak” is solid, biblical advice. It is like other sayings such as, “Speaking is silver, silence is gold.” There is a time for both, yet it’s a fact that listening ears are harder to find than speaking mouths. Christians who are patient, active listeners have a ready ministry to those who desperately need someone to listen to their story.
“Live before you Die” is a popular saying, not only among Christian preachers. It was also the theme of a commencement address by the late Steve Jobs, founder of Apple and Pixar. The basic idea is that we are alive here on earth for reasons that go beyond just pleasing ourselves.
SIX SHINY NEWBIES:
“Earn before you spend” is a piece of wisdom that deserves to be listened to. It has been ignored by millions of North Americans whose personal debt is at record high levels.
“Study before you take a test” is advice every successful student follows, and all the other students wish they had followed.
“Trust before you commit” is an excellent piece of advice for people considering making a commitment in business, education, finance, or relationship.
“Try before you reject” is advice ignored by many people who end up living constrained, impoverished lives. We all know some people who utterly refuse to taste a food that they haven’t seen before, even though everyone else around the table is eating it with obvious enjoyment. Some look at a task and say, “Oh, I could never do that,” and walk away while other people their age, gender, size and educational level are doing it well, and enjoying it.
“Believe before you pray” is not a popular saying. It is advice that is often ignored. God’s people are commanded to pray. But God responds to our prayers, not because we pray with passion, but because we pray with faith. For faith, we need to heed the next saying.
“Read before you believe.” Faith comes through hearing (or reading) the Word of God. (Romans 10:17) It matters what our faith is based on. It can’t just be wishful thinking; our faith needs to be based on the facts of God’s Word.
TWO PERSONAL QUESTIONS
Do you have any other favorite Oldies or Newbies?
How about picking one you tend to ignore to focus on this week, or month, or year?