The Value of a Word

By Charley Carmack

We hear the phrase words have meaning echoing throughout society. Words are the avenue of communication for every culture on the face of our planet. It is no wonder God recognized the importance of a single word. He understood that when He had John pen the following verse:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God,” (John 1:1).

Solomon understood the force and beauty of words which are spoken at the proper times and penned following verse to emphasis their importance:

“A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver,” (Prov. 25:11).

We have the ability to change the world through the words we choose to speak. Let us examine how we can be effective in using our words.

Understand the Scope of Their Importance

The emphasis is upon one single word, not upon a multitude of words used during the course of our day.

Dr. Wilfred Funk was asked to select the 10 most expressive words in the English language. Dr. Funk chooses the following words as the most expressive:

The most bitter—alone

The most revered—mother

The most cruel—revenge

The most sad—forgotten

The most comforting—faith

These words, at their very mention, bring powerful thoughts from our past, flooding our souls. They speak volumes though each is a single word.

Words have a tremendous impact. The story is told of two young altar boys whose lives were changed. One young altar boy dropped the communion cup during service and the bishop told him to leave the altar and never return. The young boy became the cruel communist leader Tito.

Another young boy did the same thing in another church and was told by the bishop that he would make a fine priest. He became Archbishop Fulton Sheen.

Words reveal our hearts. Jesus told us in Matthew 12:34, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.” If we listen to our words, we have an avenue to look into our own hearts.

Our words will be a part of our future. Christ spoke about this in Matthew 12:36-37,

“But I say unto you that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.”

Be Aware of the Style With Which We Speak

Solomon used the words “fitly spoken” to describe our style. In east Tennessee where I am from, we use the term “conniption fit,” to describe the uncontrolled use of words. The term used by Solomon refers to being suitable, to be right for or to furnish what is needed. It is never right to say more than is needed in any situation.

In choosing our words, we need to make sure they are suitable for use as a Christian. We need to speak only the information that is needed to convey our thoughts. Also, we need to make sure that our words do not pour forth in an uncontrolled manner.

Words Should Be Admired Because of Their Value

Solomon said it well in verse 11, “as apples of gold in pictures of silver.” I enjoy looking at fine furniture that is hand produced. One of the characteristics of fine furniture is the simplicity of design and not excessive ornamentation of our day.

Our words do not have value because of their multiplicity but by how they minister to others. Our words have value when they are seasoned by grace, when they are sound and when they edify others.

When we speak, are our words like “apples of gold in pictures of silver”? Do our words portray beauty and add value to the hearer? If we understand the importance of one word, the style in which we speak and the value that words add to others, our speech will be a beautiful thing to behold.

About the Writer: Reverend Charley Carmack is a Tennessee pastor. Adapted from Contact magazine.