“Listening to gossip is like eating cheap candy;
do you want junk like that in your belly?”
(Proverbs 26:22 Message)
“A gossip betrays a confidence; so avoid a man who talks too much.”
“Besides, they get into the habit of being idle and going about from house to house. And not only do they become idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying things they ought not to.”
(1 Timothy 5:13 NIV)
Yesterday, we saw that the word for gossip was the same word used to describe ancient merchants and peddlers. As a merchant would go about from place to place in order to peddle, traffic and trade his merchandize, so a gossiper or talebearer goes about from place to place to peddle, traffic and trade their information – be it information, slander or some secondhand fictitious tale.
When I envision an ancient market or village with its peddlers going from house to house and person to person, I can’t help but think, these were the original tell-a-marketers. Even, long before Alexander Graham Bell was born and ever had a chance to invent the telephone, there were those who made their living by calling on others with their slick and insistent sales pitch.
If the word for gossip was used in the same context as the peddlers and marketers, then a gossip likewise, was a tale-a-marketer. Their merchandise wasn’t some type of domestic service to be offered, it was a story to be shared.
It’s 6:00pm. You just got home from work and have sat down at the diner table. The phone rings…It rings again. You decide to pick it up, “Hello.” A long pause. Should I hang up or say ‘Hello’ again. Whenever there’s a pause it’s a telemarketer. “Heeellllloooo.” On the other end, “Hi….is this Mr. __________?”
q No doubt, an experience we can all relate to. How do you feel deep inside during these momentary exchanges with telemarketers?
q How often are you like a tale merchant or a tale-a-marketer, always looking for a place or person to share the information you have gathered or have heard about another?
q Often we are not aware of the extent that we participate in tale-a-marketing. You may want to ask two or three of your closest friends how you are doing in this area?