Marcia Lee Laycock is a pastor's wife, mother of three girls, caregiver to two golden retrievers and a six toed cat. She is also the winner of The Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for the novel, One Smooth Stone. Her devotionals have been widely published.
The voice coming out of the speaker was clipped and rapid. “What kind of muffin would you like? We have carrot, fat wise carrot, blueberry, fat wise blueberry, cranberry and fat wise cranberry.”
My husband and I fell into a fit of giggles. Fat wise? As we waited at the second window for the goods to be delivered, he joked. “I wonder if it talks? If it’s wise, it must be able to talk. What do you think a wise muffin would say?”
“I only care about the fat part,” I replied. “A nice plump muffin. Yup, that’s what I want.”
The muffin was, in fact, small, heavy as a stone and decidedly mute. As we pulled away from the fast-food restaurant, my husband continued his banter about fat wise muffins until my daughter groaned and asked him to quit. He shook his head. “I feel sorry for people trying to learn English.”
Sometimes the way we use words makes no sense. This seems to be particularly true in advertising. For instance, consider the expressions – “jeans your skin,” and “my bottoms are tops,” or “lips that don’t quit,” and “two thumbs fresh.” Our culture speaks in slogans and metaphors, not to mention anagrams.
It’s no wonder we laugh at the poster that reads, “I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I’m not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.”
Words can obscure understanding even when intentions are pure. Words can twist meaning when intentions are evil. There are, however, words which can be trusted, words which are meant to heal and bless, words which will never die.
Psalm 12:6 says, “And the words of the Lord are flawless, like silver refined in a furnace of clay, purified seven times.”
Isaiah 55:10-11 says, “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth; it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.”
What words does the Lord speak to us? Words of assurance and comfort, words of challenge and sometimes reproach, words of guidance and warning, words that nourish and heal. Our culture lives by the words of advertisers and slogan writers, words meant to spin the coin out of our pockets. God’s words are meant to bring truth, life, peace.
As writers we are charged to do likewise, to imitate Christ is this, as in all things. This can at once free us and bind us. The responsibility can sometimes overwhelm, but the good news is that we are not alone. He is guiding our minds and our hearts and when we yield to Him the outpouring will be words of life and blessing. The good news is that He has purpose for our words too, and those purposes will be accomplished by His Spirit, to His glory.
The good news is, it’s not up to us. All we have to do is write.