As my second Spoke Folk tour was about to get started, many of us were gathered in the church basement. We were playing games, catching up with friends from previous tours, and beginning relationships with new people while we waited for the tour to officially begin. After the final tour members arrived, the tour director called us upstairs for our first tour meeting before dinner.
On our way out of the fellowship hall, one of the counselors that had been hanging out with us, who I knew from the previous year, stopped me and said, “When you talk, people listen.”
I think it was just a casual comment, an encouragement about the way I interacted with others as a teenager. But, that statement stuck with me.
What he didn’t know was that I was struggling with what I wanted to do after high school. I wanted to have a sense of a potential major so I could thoughtfully apply to colleges that had a program to match those career goals. While I already had the skills, that comment made me consider for the first time that I might have unique gifts in communication.
Over the next year or so, I looked at potential jobs that used those talents and decided to pursue a degree in public relations. Now, more than a decade after that quick comment in a church basement, I’ve been working full-time in internal employee communication for five years.
The words we say matter. I know, you’d expect a professional communicator to have a passion for language, but it doesn’t just matter to me. God cares about how we use our words in our relationships with others.
Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear.”
Our words have the power to build up or tear down, encourage or dishearten, give grace or judgement. As Christians, we are called to share the hope that is within us and be a light in a dark world. We should always try to make our words reflect Jesus, his peace and his joy.
You never know who you may encounter that might needs a positive word of encouragement or to hear the good news of Jesus anew. Always strive to make your words edifying and hopeful. Even if you don’t see the results, God may have plans to use you to plant a seed that could change the course of someone’s future.