I love words. I love the way they look, all neatly organized into sentences. I love the way 26 letters can be formed in such a way to enlighten, inspire, and uplift. I love how powerful words are. I hardly hear of anyone walking around with broken bones due to sticks and stones, but I’ve seen and heard broken hearts because of a few choice words. I love that sometimes the most powerful of words are the simplest ones; “I love you”, “you are important”, “you’re beautiful”, “thank you” and sometimes even “I have food.”
We use words ask questions, write emails, sing songs, and tell stories on a daily basis. We read menus and send text messages. We write words into clever Instagram captions and giggle through the punch line of corny joke. We take notes in class and make to-do lists at home. With these mundane, everyday word-uses how many words do you think you use a day? I’m a babbler and also a story-teller – aka I must use A LOT of words. If my day had a word cap, I would probably be mute by noon every day. What about you?
Let’s dive deeper into that – how many of the words you use are intentional? How many of them did you MEAN to use? How many of them do you tend to regret? If your day did in fact have a cap would there be any words that maybe wouldn’t make the cut? What if we had to live our daily lives actually thinking and mulling over every single word we could say or write – which would stay and which would go? It seems a little redundant to be saying such things while writing a word-y article but just like everything on my blog – just go with it.
The Little Mermaid’s starring crab, Sebastian, says it best, “The human world, it’s a mess.” He’s a crab but he’s right. It’s so easy to get caught up in our messy lives and forget that the words we are saying to ourselves and each other are so important. If our first words are so important, then why aren’t the rest of them?
Jesus spoke on this as well – duh. He became frustrated with the way of the world. Pharisees where doing what they do, questioning Jesus and His ways (sidenote: if I met Jesus today, would I question His ways? Or just go with it? Food for thought.). “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!” (Matthew 15: 2) I might be asking that question too but that’s coming from a girl who has a small collection of Bath and Body Works hand sanitizer but I digress.
Jesus, after what I would assume to be the equivalent of a Bible-times face-palm, continues to essentially bring the conversation away from worldly things like the washing of one’s hands and to more important, heavenly things; the use of words. The Pharisees were more deeply concerned with the idea that unwashed hands + food = spoiled health. Jesus, per the usual, was more concerned that they were concerned about that over their heavenly reputation. He goes on to explain; “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. For out of the heart come evil thoughts – murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what defile a person; but each with unwashed hands does not defile them.” (Matthew 15:17-20)
Believe it or not, unwashed hands goes under the “things of this world” category in Jesus’ eyes according to this scripture. While we are concerned about germs and undercooked food, Jesus is up in heaven like, “Um, I already guaranteed you eternal life up here with me!! Why don’t you try and preserve that instead of your fleeting, earthly life!! HELLO!” Evil thoughts defile our hearts and build a wall between us and God, unwashed hands just give us the sniffles.
Our time on here on earth is so short. To us, it’s all we’ve got here but to Jesus, we have so much more waiting for us. It’s so easy to worry about the things of this world but we have to ultimately choose – are we going to worry and think about the fleeing things on earth or prioritize and preserve that which get us closer to heaven?
Jesus was so intentional with His words. I like to think that he carefully chose his words so that as they got passed around the world for years and years to come, they would always hold the same meaning. I also like to imagine the people he had in mind when he chose his words, told his parables, and preached on the daily. I feel like when he thought about his father in heaven, he was encouraged to speak intentionally but when he thought about the people of this world and the world to come, he was intentional times 1,000.
So, friends, be intentional today; with your thoughts and your words. Words can build bridges or walls, which are your words building? Make important what is WORTH making important. Don’t treat your words like they aren’t worth it, because they are. Don’t be so blinded by earthly worries that you become deaf to your future in heaven. Your words hold the power to do great things, so go do great things.
God knows I need a little bit of this, too.