Welcome to Our Publishing House!
Words, Their Wonderful Worth
by Grace Russell

I came upon a book quite by accident. I didn’t browse through a bookstore and select it nor even stumble upon it by accident on a visit to the library. It was a gift to me from my youngest daughter who knew and admired the author.

She wrapped it as an extra little gift under the Christmas tree. The Last Word was the name of it by Jamie Buckingham. It is unusual to come face to face with such a kindred spirit between the pages of a book. I laughed and cried as I read the brief, concise little chapters. Halfway through, I came upon a chapter I could have written myself. The author had decided to launch a newspaper column in small town papers.

He went about it exactly the same way I did years ago when I too launched my weekly column in several small-town Tennessee newspapers, when newspapers were the major form of communication in small towns and cities.

I never cease to be amazed at the words God uses to help us understand ourselves. He lets us laugh at both our successes and our failures and somehow, through the muddle of our own mistakes, leads us into paths of service and even victory.

Jamie Buckingham never heard of me. He didn’t know when he poured his heart out on those pages for the sheer love of writing and his need to express his innermost thoughts that another writer, far away, would read them and be encouraged by his thoughts.

Words don’t have to be written on paper to minister to the hearts of other strugglers along the Way. They can be spoken in casual conversation. Sometimes they are merely overheard and serve as a flash of insight to shed light upon a troubled situation.

A Moment of Reflection

All of us grew up with the old slogans, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never harm me,” and, as Ella, my Mother’s housekeeper, so often said, “I can’t buy nothing with Thank you.”

Neither of these sayings, upon thorough analysis, prove to be true. Words are worth a lot. We may not be able to buy much with “Thank you,” but those two little words are so gratifying that many gifts are given because of them. Negative words can harm us all. They can negate qualifications for a job and prevent a worthy person from being hired. They can incite feuds, and wars, and personal animosities that bring a large amount of grief.

On one of our trips to Europe, a preacher in Austria reminded us, “There are millions of graves in the world as a result of Hitler’s words.” The same can be said of Stalin, and Napoleon, and others on smaller or larger scales throughout history. Words are worth a lot, both positively and negatively. Words can hurt us deeply, and they also have the power to inspire us and lift us up.

Will Rogers, a humorous social commentator and actor in the early 20th Century, once offered this advice, “Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip.”

The Power of Words

Words can be very powerful guides. There are words of warning that keep us from going down roads where the bridges are out, or make us slow down if there are bottlenecks in traffic ahead. There are instructions that come with everything we buy, from laundering instructions sewn into clothes, to instructions on use of all appliances. Most of us fail to read instructions until something is amiss, but I never throw any of them away. I have two drawers full of them and have been able to fix a lot of stuff by referring to them.

The whole advertising field depends on the worth of words. More than any generation the world has ever known, today we are exposed to bombardments of words making claims of all kinds in an attempt to sell us something and transfer our dollars into salesmen’s pockets. We have to weigh words carefully to wisely determine which claims are true and which are false.

The whole field of politics is dependent upon words. Most of today’s vocations are, too. Law, ministry, teaching, journalism, salesmanship, drama, news casting, and almost every other vocation depends solely upon words. Technical skills, although not entirely dependent upon words, employ words extensively in carrying out the accomplishment of everything.

Words the Foundation of All Intellectual Discipline

Civilization itself rests upon words. It is no wonder that the book of John in the New Testament begins with, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” Words form the basis of all our systems of intellectual disciplines: Biology, Theology, Psychology, Geology, Anthropology, etc. Without words, we would find it impossible to reason. Not to be able to speak is a difficult handicap, but it is possible for those who cannot speak to learn to read and write and thus use words all the time. Those who cannot hear can learn to sign and read and are therefore able to use the tool of words.

In interpersonal relationships, the proper use of words is a crucial element. Some of the most important words to learn to say freely and mean are, “I love you,” “Please,” “Thank you,” and that hard one, “I’m sorry,” which prompts the even harder one to say, “I was wrong.”

Not only does the Gospel of John begin with, “In the beginning was the Word,” but it goes on to include the wonderful words of Jesus, whose life and philosophy changed the world for the better. Those who have Jesus’ words hidden in their hearts have a treasure beyond earth’s measure. Treasure good words. Their worth is beyond price and will gladden your life or mess it up completely, depending upon the words you choose to keep and use, for they have the capacity to shape your tomorrows for better or for worse. Elect to keep the ones that make life better.

A Moment of Truth

Let’s ask ourselves, do we use our words wisely? Both the ones we speak and the ones we absorb through our eyes and ears? Are we careful which ones we keep? Pass on? Throw away?

In the last book of the Bible, John describes Jesus as our Mighty, Victorious Redeemer seated on a white horse and tells us, “His name is called The Word of God.” If words have the power to transmit the very essence of God from life to life, should we not use them wisely and well and let them work their wonder.

If you enjoyed this devotional you will love the daily devotional book Spring by Grace Russell from her Grace Lines Series Faith for all Seasons. Grace Writes: “This book of meditations is designed to help you experience God’s Presence in the everyday moments of life and help you find that place of inner stillness where God speaks to anyone who will take the time to listen. God’s miracles are everywhere. We just seem to be more aware of them at this season when the fresh shoots of spring remind us of how blessed we are to live on this lovely blue ball in space.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Featured Product


Featured Product

The Calling of a Generation

Heaven is Waiting to Burst into the World
through you!

by Evangeline Weiner Hooie