we always think that size determines our success or ability to influence. but it’s not necessarily true. i’m in the midst of reading and studying the book of James and he reminds us that destructive power is beheld in this tiny entity called the tongue. remember when we were kids and chanted the mantra, “sticks and stones will break our bones, but names will never hurt me!” i’m not so sure about that. i think that physical pain heals, but emotional scars can last a lifetime. i still remember when someone took a shot at my preaching by saying that “a dog could preach better.” i brushed it off, but it hasn’t left my memory. it’s a remark that somehow enhances an existing insecurity and makes it all the more difficult to move forward and grow. i also remember when a teacher long ago told me that she saw incredible success in my future. these words embedded hope and inspiration whenever i feel like a failure. words are absolutely powerful. they can inspire us to accomplish more than we ever imagined possible or they can kill our spirit to a point where we are physically immobilized. what words do you speak? do you give life? or do you destroy life? james calls us to tame our tongue. he questions how we bless God and yet curse people who are made in His likeness. And he tells us that this should not be so. know that your tongue has great power – power to kill or power to heal. and, know that what you speak changes our world!!!
my shortsidedness and hard headedness never ceases to amaze me. i was preaching this past sunday on John 4. on of the sections was about the disciples urging Jesus to eat and him responding, “I have food to eat that you know nothing about.” He’s talking about doing this will of his Father and they’re still thinking about food. i’ve been so convicted of this truth. I believe that we still think that we’re “not ready” or that we “need to be fed more.” but, the truth is that when we act and step out in faith, we grow and we become stronger. in essence, we are fed. it’s crazy that the disciples have been walking with Jesus and yet when he talks about this, they are wondering what literal food he’s talking about. Whereas, Jesus will always talk about the nourishment of our souls being the thing that satisfies us to our deepest core.
anyhow, i’m preaching this word and i’m thinking that i’m getting it in me as well. but that wasn’t necessarily the case. we had our monthly potluck dinner after our gathering and while i’m eating and talking a guy taps me on the shoulder to say hi. it’s one of our brothers from the street that hasn’t been around in a while. he’s talking to me and telling me that it’s been a long time and that so much has changed. i tell him that it’s good that he’s here and that it’s good that he came tonight since it’s potluck night and he’d be able to eat. he comes up to me again about 20 minutes later and says, “you know… life is more than just food. i want and need something more. i’ll be here next week for the service.”
i sat there speechless and humbled. i had just finished preaching a message about a greater food that satisfies our soul, and immediately need to be reminded by my homeless and hungry brother that life is about more than just food for our bodies. this was definitely a humbling reminder that God’s word doesn’t need to just flow through me, but needs to flow in me as well…