A few days ago, we were discussing Matthew 12:35 and 36, which says, “The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil. But I tell you that every careless word that people speak, they shall give an accounting for it in the day of judgment” (all verses are from the NASB).
The discussion centered on the idea of careless words, which is definitely something that Jesus warned us about. However, I wanted to send a little more time of the idea of “bringing.” It might be easy to remember that we should watch our language, but there is an absolute that we were ignoring.
What does it mean to “bring out what is good” or “bring out what is evil?” The key is in the word “bring.” At first glance, it seems that this is just something that comes along with us. Something like saying, “I’ll bring the donuts.”
But the Greek word for bring is actually a much strong word than we realize. Matthew chooses to use the word ἐκβάλλω (ekballō, Strong’s G1544) and Matthew uses that word 28 times in his Gospel (82 times in the whole New Testament). While Matthew uses ekballō twice in verse 35, we can begin to understand the strength of the word better in another verse where he uses the word twice again in the same chapter (v. 27).
Verse 27 reads, “If I by Beelzebul cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out?” (NASB). What that? You don’t even see the word “bring?” No you don’t, because in verse 27 it is translated as “cast out,” not “bring.” And that’s how we begin to understand the strength of this word Jesus used when he said that good men bring good things out of their good treasure.
What Jesus is saying is that there’s actually some work involved in bringing out good or evil from what we treasure in our hearts; as much work as casting out demons! As a mater of fact, this word ekballō is translated as “cast out” more than half the time it appears in the New Testament. But you may also see it in Matthew 7:5, “first take (ekballō) the log out of your own eye” and in Matthew 9:38, “Therefore beseech the Lord of the harvest to send out (ekballō) workers into His harvest.”
Here’s my point, while we might focus on avoiding careless words we may totally miss the idea of purposefully, intentionally, even forcefully bringing good things out of our treasure store. These good things simply will not ooze out of us. Work is necessary.
Watching for careless words is important, but Jesus refers to the person who is actively bringing out good things as a “good man.” The other two options are a careless man or an evil man. Let’s strive to be producers of good!
Photo by Melissa Askew on Unsplash