Words carry great power
June 15, 2009
by Pastor Tom Rakow, Grace Bible Church, Silver Lake

For some strange reason, my dad’s words stuck. I’m almost positive he was joking, but then again – maybe he wasn’t!

Over 20 years ago, my Aunt May had a household auction. She was my dad’s oldest sister and ended up with many of grandma’s possessions.

So, at the auction, when a large, white enamel bowl came up for sale, I was the high bidder. This metal bowl, coated with white enamel, would make a great popcorn bowl.

My aunt confirmed that it, indeed, had been one of Grandma Rakow’s. To this, my dad jokingly remarked, “Yeah, I remember ma used to soak her feet in it!”

My dad was a great guy, and he said many important things to me over the course of my life. Some of those things I have forgotten – but his words, “ma used to soak her feet in it!” have not been forgotten. Although my grandmother died more than 40 years ago, when I was just 10, the thought of her soaking her feet in my white bowl still affects the flavor of popcorn.

I know, it doesn’t make sense. Over the 40 years since she has been gone, the white bowl has no doubt been scrubbed or washed hundreds of times.

At first, I have refused to give up. I was steadfastly determined to not allow the feet of an old woman (who may or may not have soaked her feet in my white popcorn bowl more than 40 years ago) stop me from enjoying my popcorn.

But alas, several months ago, I raised the surrender flag. I have now concluded that trying to eat popcorn out of this bowl is just not worth the mental anguish. The white bowl now serves as a water dish for our English pointer dogs.

Whether we realize it or not, words are extremely powerful. We all have been affected by the words we have heard. Some words have harmed, and others have helped.

The Bible says, “The tongue has the power of life and death.” (Proverbs 18:21a) Words can cripple, comfort, or give great courage.

The book of Proverbs points out, “An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.” (Proverbs 12:25) You and I have the power to encourage and inspire those around us.

Proverbs 16:24 says, “Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” How long has it been since you cheered someone up, or brought about some much needed healing with your words?

The fact is, the appropriate word spoken at just the right time is not only of great value, but it is also a thing of rare beauty. Indeed, “A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” (Proverbs 25:11)

Friend, do you know someone who could use some comfort, or perhaps a little word of encouragement? Let’s make a conscious choice to help others by what we say – and let’s do it every day.