The Power of a Word

As much as I love having a warm casserole delivered to my home when I have the flu, food is not my favorite ministry. And as nice as it is to have someone visit you when you're new in the neighborhood, visitation doesn't really rank as number one with me either. And while I love being ministered to in someone else's home - a meal prepared in my honor, a home freshly scrubbed in anticipation of my visit, and a hostess making me feel warm and welcomed - even hospitality isn't my favorite way to be ministered to.

Congenial conversation—what a pleasure!
   The right word at the right time—beautiful!
Proverbs 15:23

A well-chosen, well-placed, timely word - that's my ministry of choice. There is absolutely nothing I appreciate more than someone sharing a godly morsel of wisdom, a biblical truth, a word of genuine encouragement, a little hope, or a well-chosen scripture that speaks loudly to my current dilemma

Proverbs 15:23 reminds us that a well chosen word of hope, blessing, encouragement or truth, given at just the right moment, is a beautiful thing indeed. And when the conversation freely volleys with such spiritually uplifting words...well, there's just nothing better. 

I have a few friends I can count on for "just the right word" on a pretty consistent basis. That's what makes those ladies my friends! Conversation with them is like laying your head on a soft pillow and putting your feet up for a few minutes before you have to get out there and tackle the situation again. Indeed, "what a pleasure!"

But I love it when I am surprised with a timely word from an unlikely source. Like when my 18-year-old daughter tells me after church how extremely cute I look. Talk about a timely word! She made my spirit soar. (Probably caused me to stand up a little straighter and sway my hips a little more, too!) But I also love hearing a word of instruction, a bit of wisdom, or even a gentle reproof - when I know it's an "apt answer" or "a timely word," as the New American Standard Version words Proverbs 15:23. 

And don't you just almost get a chill down your spine when you realize that God has used you to say something from Him to someone else? You would think that would make you feel cocky and proud, but it has just the opposite effect. It is extremely humbling when you really manage to deliver a word of truth or hope or encouragement or even rebuke, that is wrapped in the soft and appealing packaging of God's love. And, boy, you can tell the difference, too, can't you? When you speak a word that is truly Spirit inspired as opposed to one that comes from your flesh? You can speak truth in the flesh, but, like Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13, it is more likely to come out of your mouth sounding like a clanging symbol or the creaking of a rusty gate. That's no ministry. That's just misery!

So today, on Ministry Monday, I'm contemplating how I can more consistently be used to deliver a timely word, a soothing conversation, a well-chosen message of hope to those around me.

I have a feeling that my usefulness in this ministry of words is directly correlated to the amount of time I spend reading God's Word and conversing with Him. All of His words are timely and well-chosen. Every conversation I have with Him leaves me rested and refreshed and re-energized. It only stands to reason that His gift for words would rub off on me the more I spend time in His presence.

How has someone ministered to you with their well-chosen words lately? I'd love to know. And how do you think we can prepare to be ministers of a "good word?"

Isn't a word well-spoken amazingly refreshing and powerful? I pray that you and I can be ministers of well-chosen, timely, and well-placed words of hope, faith, love, encouragement, and truth today.

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