“Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” (Colossians 4:6)
“…in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect.” (1 Peter 3:15)
Today I was greatly encouraged by the words of others. I started the day with a one-on-one meeting with a church member and partner in ministry. I was very encouraged by our sharing from the heart about our challenges right now and ideas for ministry. Later I received a text message from another friend about someone who is in the hospital. I called the friend in the hospital, and our very short conversation was encouraging because she is so peaceful and secure in Christ. Then I spoke with a few others, including an older friend who is getting much-needed help with her chronic back pain. I am relieved to hear that she is getting this medical attention. I also had a lovely one-hour phone conversation with a new friend and was happy to get to know her better. The conversations I had with others made my day significant, satisfying, and uplifting.
I was aware that all of us are thankful for God’s help and grateful to have connected with each other. I was unsure of what to say at times but knew that God was watchful over our dialog and guided me in the direction I took when it was my turn to add to the conversation, to bring a little gospel salt into the mix. So we talked about what God is doing in our lives. In a couple of instances, we explored how we might trust Christ more and appreciate whatever he is ordaining.
The Apostle Paul seemed always to be mindful of sharing encouraging messages with the churches to lift up the spirits of God’s people. Timely God-centered communication is a vital ministry that all of us can do by just picking up the phone, texting, or emailing someone with encouragement and news. Paul wanted to encourage the church in Ephesus: “So that you also may know how I am and what I am doing, Tychicus the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord will tell you everything. I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are, and that he may encourage your hearts.” (Ephesians 6:21-22) Paul also mentored others to encourage the churches. To the Colossian church he wrote, “Tychicus will tell you all about my activities. He is a beloved brother and faithful minister and fellow servant in the Lord. I have sent him to you for this very purpose, that you may know how we are and that he may encourage your hearts and with him Onesimus, our faithful and beloved brother, who is one of you. They will tell you of everything that has taken place here.” (Colossians 4:7-9)
Words and language are a gift from God, to use for his glory, serving others in love. As we finish our study of words and move onto our next topic, I realize that I have become more sensitive to the words I use and give more thought to using my communications as a ministry. How about you? How have your words changed over the last month? Do your words reflect the gospel at work in your life?