This verse came jumping into my mind recently as I walked on a beach in Scotland on a sunny, but chilly, Sunday afternoon. The British Isles have beaches of all kinds. Some are covered feet deep with sea-rounded flint pebbles, some with graded stones of many different colours and sizes, and some with sand rippled by the sea, or built up into huge dunes. But this beach seemed a most unusual mix to me. It was a perfectly flat wide expanse of yellow sand. Yet, scattered around like chocolate chips in a biscuit, were individual separate stones, as if each one was set apart to show off its individual beauty.
That’s what reminded me of this verse. These were beautiful stones, which seemed to have been placed by a divine hand in settings of golden sand. To add to this thought a knowledgeable friend explained to me that many of the stones were agate, which might, if polished, prove to be beautiful enough to set into a jewellery setting.
Every day we probably speak thousands, or maybe millions, of words. I can’t help wondering how many of them would qualify to be considered aptly spoken and beautiful enough to be considered jewels. Sometimes we may speak apt words after much careful consideration, and even forward planning, to get the words just right. Or maybe we speak them out almost by accident, without consciously recognising their appropriateness in a specific situation. Only God can give us truly apt words for any situation, after we ask Him to be the Lord of our tongue and our speaking.
An apt word may bring gentle comfort or much-needed encouragement. It might bring challenge or even warning of danger ahead. Jesus always spoke apt words. Words to bring hope and healing, or to teach truth to those hungry for understanding. Jesus always had just the right word at the right time. What is certain is that the right word spoken at the right time can be life changing, so it’s a very precious thing.
I couldn’t help collecting a few of these agate stones and bringing them home (maybe one day they will get polished in a stone tumbling machine), and now they are on my dressing table, where they will remind me of a beautiful sunny afternoon beach walk, but also of this very challenging verse in Proverbs.
Prayer: Father, today I ask You to be truly the Lord of my tongue and my speaking. In the multitude of words which I will probably speak today please give me specially chosen apt words for the situations in which I find myself; words that will be precious and beautiful and bring Your life to those who need a unique personal touch from You today. I pray this in Jesus’ mighty name. Amen.
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