Pouring Forth Speech

Most families have at least one
“conversationalist” in the bunch. I won’t talk
about my immediately family, in order to not
find myself in dutch. My favorite uncle,
however, I will mention. Uncle Fred, now
deceased for over 23 years, was a skilled and
well-practiced raconteur. One unique thing
about uncle Fred was that, even with the
volume of speech that he produced, you
never felt annoyed or put-upon. Fred was a
kind, jovial, creative, and perpetually
interesting talker. He laughed easily—as
much at himself as he did at others. Although
he spoke fluent English, he also had his
patented phrases. He was prone to fashion
out of whole cloth sayings and stories that no
one else had ever heard, before or since. This
affectation was simply an outgrowth of his
inimitable personality, attributable to his
special character. He also was a godly
Christian man who cared deeply for everyone
around him, as thousands of people can
attest. But man, could he pour forth speech.
In more than one instance, Scripture
speaks of the universe, the creation, pouring
forth speech in praise to God. It is vital that we
take note of this. That which God has created,
inanimate or no, pours forth speech in praise
of its Creator. The final lines of the psalter, in
fact, call upon all of us to use our speech in
worship to God, “Let everything that has
breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD.”
But it isn’t just the “breathing stuff” in the world
that praises God.

Scripture also testifies to the praise lifted
up to God from the heavens—the stars
and other faraway bodies (Psalm 19).
Much later, at the triumphal entry, Jesus
himself avows that the rocks (the rocks,
people!) will shout in praise because of the
coming of God the Son. All of creation is
equipped in its own way to pour forth
speech that honors, praises, worships, and
reflects the great Creator God.
Much more than rocks and stars and
animals, however, we who purport to follow
Christ must be serious about pouring forth
speech that honors our Savior. Speech
that is directed toward our family, friends,
neighbors, fellow citizens. Speech in a
conversation at a restaurant with wait staff,
or across the dinner table at home. Speech
at the customer service counter at the
Home Depot, or at the help desk in the
airport. Speech in private moments with
our spouses. Speech on the phone—
maybe for the umpteenth time—with a rep
from that particular (argh!) company that
still hasn’t gotten our order right. Or maybe
speech with a wayward child, with a
disengaged parent, or with the rude person
in line with us.
Paul insisted to the church in Colossae,
“Let your speech always be gracious,
seasoned with salt, so that you may know
how you ought to answer each person.”
Yep. Paul has it right.
We are constantly pouring forth
speech. May it always, always, always be
speech that shows to the world the One to
whom we belong.


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