The lips of the righteous nourish many. — Proverbs 10:21
There was once a monk who, like many followers of Jesus at the time, was looking for a deeper walk with God. This monk, Abbot Agatho, fled to the desert. The story goes that Abbot Agatho, aware of his temptation to sin with his words, carried a rock in his mouth for three years! He did so until he learned to be silent — or to control his lips.
I’m not ready to carry a rock in my mouth as a reminder to watch my words, but I am very aware of my own temptation to use my words unwisely. Because we serve a God who speaks and uses His words to bring life, we are reminded that our words really do matter. They matter in our marriage, our family, the workplace, our relationships, and our church. Our words really are an overflow of what is going on in our hearts (Luke 6:45), and they have the power to shape the hearts of those whom God has surrounded us with.
In Proverb 10:21, the writer said,
The lips of the righteous nourish many.
With our words, we bring life, health, and good things to those we encounter. We make others better by what rolls off our tongue. With our lips, we are to avoid gossip, slander, malice, and idle talk, which steal life instead of nourishing it.
We can nourish those around us with words of encouragement. Speaking truth in love. Sharing our appreciation. Building others up with the truth and promises of God’s Word. We nourish others when we speak with gentleness and compassion. We bring life when we choose not to speak words that could easily be used as weapons.
How are you using your words? Do your words bring nourishment to those around you? Take a moment and prayerfully consider how your words are bringing life or death to those you are closest to. Let’s pursue the righteousness described in Proverbs — being one who uses her words to nourish not just some, but many!
Lord, You are a God who speaks. As I reflect who You are to those around me, help me use my words wisely. Give me grace to “nourish many” with my lips. I confess that my words are not always used in a way that honors You. Forgive me and teach me to love and serve those around me with the words You give me. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Where do you struggle with your words the most? What is one way you can begin nourishing others with your words today?
Excerpted with permission from Settle My Soul by Karen Ehman and Ruth Schwenk, copyright Karen Ehman and Ruth Schwenk.
* * *
Maybe for some of us carrying a rock in our mouths isn’t such a bad idea… How are you using your words? Who are you nourishing with the things you say? Today, let’s bring life, health, and good things to those we encounter! Come share your thoughts with us on our blog. We want to hear from you! ~ Laurie McClure, Faith.Full