A Word Fitly Spoken
By Alan Wright — April 08, 2019
The right word can change a life.
Text: “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.” (Proverbs 25:11, ESV)
A YouTube video with 26 million views depicts a man on the steps of a city government building with a cardboard sign that reads: “I’m blind, please help me.” The video reveals an occasional passerby who drops a coin in the disabled man’s can, but largely, he goes unnoticed. But mid-day a woman pauses in front of the blind man as he feels her shoes with his hands. Curiously, she donates no money to the beggar’s tin can but instead turns the cardboard around to the blank side and writes a new note on it. She sets up the new cardboard note and leaves. Soon, people are pausing by the dozens and filling the blind man’s can with donations. At the end of the day, the woman returns and, as she pauses in front of the blind man, he feels her shoes again, realizing it is the same woman who had visited him earlier.
“What did you do to my sign?” the beggar asked.
“I wrote the same thing in different words,” she said as she walked away.
The camera pans to the cardboard sign with its new wording:
“It’s a beautiful day and I can’t see it.”
Though she had left him no cash, her words were far more valuable.
It proves that a fitly spoken word is more precious than silver and gold.
Mark Twain said the difference between the right word and almost the right word is the difference between lightening and a lightening bug.
At the simplest level, words have creative force because they give birth to ideas. If I describe something you’ve never imagined, my words create the image. Imagine a pink flamingo in a bright blue tuxedo riding a unicycle while playing a trumpet. I’m pretty sure you’ve never had such an image in your mind but, now that you do, the trumpet playing flamingo unicyclist virtually exists. When you speak a word of grace to someone, you open up an image of God’s love. The right word might be the most precious gift you can give someone today. And that’s the Gospel!