The Right Words

“Like apples of gold in settings of silver Is a word spoken in right circumstances.” Proverbs 25:11 (NASB)

Church receptionists are powerful people. Just think about it. If your church‘s receptionist is a godly woman, the congregation, visitors and callers benefit from her kindness, wisdom and patience.

But if she gossips … gracious! Think how a lack of discernment, wicked words and malicious intent can spread. One person in a powerful position can poison the entire church.

Lily, the receptionist at my church, always used her position for good. Situated at a desk at the entrance of the main office, she greeted every person walking through the door and answered each phone call personally. Lily was known not only as a wonderful receptionist, but as a godly woman.

Young women in a leadership position were advised to seek out Lily as a mentor. It wasn’t long until the tapestried bench in front of her desk became one of women’s favorite spots. They could pour out their heart’s for the women of the church, and Lily joined them both to pray and to recruit the older women.They approached her with problems, and she helped them find wise solutions. They cried when their feelings were hurt and she urged them, “Beloved, run to Jesus!”

They learned so many important lessons sitting on the bench in their church’s office, but the most important one was modeled rather than taught aloud.

They always lamented that if  they were given the life verse most fitting their untransformed self, theirs would be Proverbs 10:19a, “Too much talk leads to sin” tattooed on their  forehead. Lily taught them (a woman who struggles with an abundance of words) to be wise and discerning with words.

Lily modeled discretion when their  careless words abounded.

They talked and talked, but watched as Lily listened carefully to everyone.

Lily prayerfully paused before speaking, while they spoke without thinking.

They voiced their own thoughts but responded in awe as Lily often spoke directly from God‘s Word.

As time went by, They prayed and worked to emulate their mentor. Although they still wrestled with overusing words, they became much more sensitive to their power. They tried to follow Lily’s godly example by using words carefully, stopping the constant flow of chatter and re-directing potentially negative conversation to be God-honoring.

Several years passed, and many women thought about Lily’s life-changing influence as they packed for a move. Before some left for  new places, they wanted to find a gift to thank her for all the hours she had poured into them. They looked and looked for the perfect memento, until suddenly their eyes lit on a metallic, silver and gold apple pendant.

Immediately, a verse which often came to mind when thinking of Lily, “Like apples of gold in settings of silver Is a word spoken in right circumstances” (Proverbs 25:11 NASB). Wise words are valuable and precious, lovely and uncommon. I purchased the pendant, wrapped it carefully and took it to the church.

As They gave Lily her gift, their  eyes welled while thanking her. Without even knowing, she had taught them the priceless lesson of the beauty of well-chosen words. They pray they’re  doing the same for others in their  life.

Dear Lord, refine my words until they become lovely, pleasing to You, and uplifting to the people around me. Please help me stop words in mid-breath that dishonor You and tear down others. This transformation isn’t easy, so I plead for Your power at work in me to change me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:

Reflect and Respond:
How are you doing with words? Make a point to listen to yourself today.

Thank a friend who is wise with her words and start to take note and learn from her.

Power Verses:
Proverbs 10:19-20, “Sin is not ended by multiplying words, but the prudent hold their tongues. The tongue of the righteous is choice silver, but the heart of the wicked is of little value.” (NIV)

James 3:2, “We all stumble in many ways. Anyone who is never at fault in what they say is perfect, able to keep their whole body in check.” (NIV)



How to Leave a Legacy®

I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.” 2 Timothy 1:5 (NIV)

Tod’s family went to church faithfully. That’s what they had always done. But once inside the brick walls of their home, the story was different. There the masks came off, and Tod and his little brother lived with the painful reality of their parents’ bad choices. Living a double life became the norm for Tod, and he learned early that Christianity was something you put on with your church clothes.

Summer, however, brought more than relief from school, homework, and the daily routine of life. Summer brought with it a short break from living in the craziness of his family, because summer meant time at his grandparent’s home.

Grandma and Grandpa Whitwer were humble people. They served alongside each other as ministers, sacrificially laying down their lives to travel from church to church in many different states. They served well into their retirement years, and never gave up ministering to others.

Throughout the years they saw the pain of their son’s choices, choices that drastically affected the lives of their grandchildren. But there was little they could do to intervene. At least it was little in the eyes of the world.

What they were able to do had a lasting impact on Tod. Quietly and consistently, they showed their grandson love. Their never-wavering faith was an anchor. Their unconditional love was like water to a thirsty child. Their integrity was a light on a hill to a lost boy. Amel and Elise Whitwer gave hope to a young boy; hope that there was more to God and to this life than what he knew. Moreover, Tod learned that Christianity was something you lived out every day, not just on Sundays.

Through the faith of two humble people, my husband and I learned that God’s most effective influence often comes in quiet ways. God can change a life, and a generation of lives, using gentle, consistent, sincere people who love and serve Him.

The faith of a godly woman … the faith of a God-fearing man …. it changed my husband’s life. It changed my life. And it is changing our children’s lives. Never underestimate the power of faith, and a godly legacy, to make an impact over generations.

Note: Before Tod’s parents passed away, we were blessed to see both of them receive healing and restoration, to God and to their families.

Dear Lord, thank You for the model of faith You have given me through the lives of previous generations. Help me to honor those people who love and honor You. Like them, I long to be a woman who creates a legacy of faith to those who will follow in my footsteps. Help me be the woman You want me to be. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Reflect and Respond:
If your grandparents are still alive, take the time to write them a letter, or call them. If you are a grandparent, write your grandchildren a letter.

Think of an older woman who has been a model of Christian faith. What are some of her most memorable characteristics?

What can you do now to become a woman of faith who will leave a legacy?

Power Verses:
Isaiah 55:11, “… so is my word that goes out from my mouth; It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (NIV)

Daniel 4:34b, “His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation.” (NIV)

Deuteronomy 7:9, “Know therefore that the LORD your God is God; he is the faithful God, keeping his covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love him and keep his commands.” (NIV)