During some recent study, I was struck with a concept I had inexplicably never considered before. While I talk a lot about stewarding our resources of money and time, I had never considered stewarding the resources of our words. As a writer, the thought struck me deeply. I see words as being an incredibly powerful resource we can use to further God’s Kingdom or to tear it down.
Actions indeed speak louder than words, but words can change minds, influence change, and impact the world in ways that little else can. Yet, how much thought do you give towards stewarding your words each day? How often do you intentionally measure your speech to be certain each word you speak makes the greatest impact for the Kingdom of God?
I cringe to think how many careless words I have spoken and written. How often have I considered the true and lasting impact of my words? A good rule I have learned (although I am still working on implementing it!) is to be sure whatever I say will be to build someone up, never to tear them down (Ephesians 4:29). If what we say will make someone feel worse about themselves than when the conversation started, we are not stewarding our words well. God has entrusted language and vocabulary to us for the same purpose for which He has entrusted us with time, money, possessions, skills, passions, and talents to build His Kingdom and to further His mission here on earth. Any time we use His resources for anything else, we are squandering what He has placed in our care. We are rejecting God’s purpose for our lives.
None of us want to be seen as bad stewards of the gifts given to us by God. If Jesus is your Lord, I know you want to maximize what He has given to you to use. This certainly includes stewarding your words. We use words more often than we use money, so it may serve us well to tame the tongue before tackling our finances. James, the brother of Jesus, warned us the tongue is like a fire (James 3:6). Just as the smallest spark of flame can start forest fires consuming thousands of acres, a single careless word can cause irreparable damage in the life of another. We must be diligent in stewarding our words.
Words form in our minds before we speak them aloud, so we do well to heed Paul’s admonishment to take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). Before we allow words to travel from our brains to our tongues, we need to consider if they will be useful for building up someone or tearing them down. Each of us must set aside all words which do not reflect the love and character of Christ. All words that pass the first test should then be carefully shaped and molded for maximum impact. This means we’ll have to learn to speak slower to give us time to process all this. That’s okay. As humans, we tend to speak too quickly and too often! Make an effort to steward your words. Choose them carefully and wisely. Steward your words to maximize the impact they will have on others and in the building of God’s Kingdom.