Clear Signals

by Fred Alcain on March 29, 2024


And if the bugler doesn’t sound a clear call, how will the soldiers know they are being called to battle?
1 Corinthians 14:8


I recall driving home the day of our tsunami scare years ago and the topic on the radio puzzled me.  No, it wasn’t about how big the wave was projected to be, it wasn’t about the anticipated cost of potential damage and it wasn’t about inundation zones.  For 45 minutes the radio host fielded calls having to do with the tsunami warning siren, or lack thereof on the north shore of Oahu.  Callers were frustrated and angry, claiming that their so-called emergency warning siren sounded more like someone was vacuuming next door rather than exciting them to heed warning.  As they called they questioned the intent and integrity of our warning systems and the intelligence and involvement of emergency response teams.

This incident, in collaboration with these words of Paul remind me to make sure my message is clear.


How many times have I given off inaccurate or unintelligible messages?  How many times have I unintentionally given bad direction?  How many times has my bugle sounded for peace when it was meant for war?

3 things:

  1. A clear and concise message is much better than clever and creative one.  My intent should be exactness more so than eloquence.  I do only my Creative Writing professor a service when I lean on the latter.
  2. James 1:19 (quick to hear slow to speak).  Before giving any direction, I need a clear picture and understanding of the goal.  Yes, a prompt response is great, but an accurate response is of much more value.
  3. Be sure the message is heard.  Like the tsunami observation, my “bugle sound” is useless if not heard clearly and properly.  This means the message is broadcast appropriately to the intended receiver (phone call vs. text vs. email vs. social media).  My responsibility is for not only for the clarity of the message but the certainty of it being heard.


Jesus, may I never get in the way of your message of love and grace by cluttering it with unnecessary words.  May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Your sight.


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