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)

 

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