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Words

Rev. Dallas Burgeson | The Springs Church | 135 N. Grant St, Cedar Springs

Words. There are a lot of them. And I’m not talking about the ones in the dictionary, but the ones being spoken all over the place in the world. In our homes.

These words can be a problem. Proverbs 10:19 explains part of the issue: “Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut.(NLT)

James talks about another part of the problem with all those words that are often being so carelessly spoken into the air: “…a small rudder makes a huge ship turn wherever the pilot chooses to go, even though the winds are strong. In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches. But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire.” – James 3:4-5 (NLT).

Can you see the truth of this at work? In the world? In your home? As a pastor, I’ve learned to recognize how words set stuff on fire—yes, out in the world as well as in people’s homes, but also from positions of leadership.

Most of my ministry career has involved holding a certain level of authority, but also sitting one step below the position where “the buck stops.” I think this has allowed me to observe from a unique perspective just what happens when a leader says things. I knew long before I came to The Springs that the tongue can start things on fire, and it seems to me now that part of a pastor’s job is to start the right things on fire, and then to avoid lighting lots of other things.

Figuring out what is “too much talk” is tricky sometimes, depending upon on who you are, what your relationships look like, and what you need to do in life. Too many words in your close relationships or at work can be a real problem, but sometimes not speaking enough can be trouble, too. I’ve learned I have a tendency to not encourage people enough: my wife, my kids, my leaders, my congregation. That takes more kind words, and I don’t always speak them when it would really help if I did. That, and fewer harsh ones.

This time of year during the season of Advent, we start looking again for a Savior to come into our world and save us. And when He comes to us in a manger, the Gospel of John says He comes as a warming Word (check out John 1:1-5 for more on that). The prophet Isaiah told us ahead of time just what our Word would be like:

“He will not shout or raise his voice in public. He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle” (Isaiah 42:2-3).

Jesus knew how to do words. He was and still is our warming Word—starting the world on fire, yet never burning the wrong things.

Lord Jesus, come to us again this season. Replace our careless words with goodness and light, we pray. Amen.

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