I know that sometimes people think preachers never run out of things to say.
But occasionally, as I approach the deadline for writing this column, I face the dreaded writer’s block. What can I say that will have value? What can I write that might make a difference in someone’s life?
Believe it or not, the three pastors who write weekly for this newspaper are not doing it just for the notoriety. And we certainly are not doing it for the money — there is none.
But there is the hope that someone’s life might be touched in some small way. Perhaps a word written might help in the midst of a crisis or struggle.
I am reminded of the power of words on many occasions. James, the half-brother of Jesus, wrote in his letter in the New Testament that the tongue is like a fire.
Think about that. Fire can be dangerous. We don’t want our children playing with fire. We do not want them to be burned.
And yet, fire is essential to life as we know it. Your car engine requires fire to run. Our heaters, ovens and stoves require the same. Fire is necessary to life, but it must be harnessed to be used effectively.
Our words can be both a blessing and bane to others. James actually reminds us that with the same tongue, we both bless and curse. But then he adds this sober reminder: “This ought not to be so.”
He is telling us there that we need to speak words that are kind and considerate and life-giving.
It is not a coincidence that John refers to Jesus as “The Word” in the prologue of his Gospel. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” And so we speak of Jesus — he is the very Word of God. This Word has the power to change life.
My words and your words are not as powerful as “The Word.” However, God uses our words for good in so many ways.
I want to leave you with the words of a song that my mother taught me many years ago that I still believe are so helpful to remember: “Oh, be careful, little tongue, what you say.” Those are words to live by.