"The Sovereign Lord has given me an instructed tongue, to know the word that sustains the weary. He wakens me morning by morning, wakens my ear to listen like one being taught." Isaiah 50:4
“I admire people who always know what to say, when to say it, and where. These are folks who encourage with thoughtful words straight from the heart. For them, it comes naturallyGod, the all-time great Encourager, says He will give you His words to sustain those around you. He even wants to show you, first thing in the morning, those who may need an encouraging word. He'll teach you who to be on the lookout for, such as a neighbor who just received a bad medical report, a co-worker who didn't get the promotion, or a family member who feels hurt and neglected.”
The above by Joni Eareckson Tada in Diamonds in the Dust
And this passage came to me this AM in another email…is God trying to show me something? I have been feeling useless lately…why is God keeping me here in this broken-down body? I’ve been feeling useless. Pointless.
And this morning a friend came to my FB chat in pain and distressed by health issues. We talked for a good while. And while I was able to point her to some appropriate medical care, I hope I was able to also offer some encouragement…even if just a person to listen and understand from experience where she was coming from.
And it got me thinking of other people who have approached me via email or chats looking for an understanding heart and an encouraging word. Most of all they all needed my prayers.
The tongue is a fire…or a rudder. Used properly, a source of blessing, encouragement and instruction. Used wrongly it will destroy relationships, end employment, and wound others.
This passage in James was on my mind this AM, even before these two passages above came to my inbox this morning.
But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger; Jms 1;19b
If anyone thinks himself to be religious, and yet does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, Jms 1:26
A bridle does not paralyze or restrain from movement…it DIRECTS the horse. We are to direct our tongues…better yet let God do it, ask him for the right words…ask him to give you an instructed tongue.
James 3 … If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well. 3 Now if we put the bits into the horses’ mouths so that they will obey us, we direct their entire body as well. 4 Look at the ships also, though they are so great and are driven by strong winds, are still directed by a very small rudder wherever the inclination of the pilot desires. 5 So also the tongue is a small part of the body, and yet it boasts of great things.
So this morning…God encouraged me to keep encouraging others. I asked him to give me an “instructed tongue” that he would make me quick to listen and slow to speak. I may not be able to drive people to doctor appointments or to cook meals to take to the sick. I cannot crochet baby clothes, or invite in the homeless….but I can hear. And I can speak. And if that is what it is that God is trying to show me he wants me focus on doing, then I will. Gladly.