by: FCC Staff
Does life imitate art? Or is it the other way around? Oscar Wilde, in his essay The Decay of Lying argues for the former when he suggests that “Life imitates art far more than art imitates life.” It would be difficult to land on a definitive answer to this question because opinions are partially influenced by generational and cultural factors. A middle-aged rural farmer would probably offer a distinctly different viewpoint on this than a twenty-something urbanite.
What we can say for sure is that in Scripture, the interplay of life and art is frequently used to help us understand some important principles about God and the life He desires for us. Today’s text is a perfect example of this. Solomon describes three naturally occurring things in life (apples, gold, and silver) that when creatively brought together form something that moves us visually in the same way that a perfectly timed word can for our life.
The Apostle Paul understood the importance of this and encouraged followers of Christ to practice it in their daily lives. To one group of believers he wrote, “Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each other.” (Colossians 4:6) He encouraged another group to “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” (Ephesians 4:29)
A key phrase in the above text is “…according to the need of the moment…” Sometimes we excel at saying what needs to be said, and on other occasions, we get the timing right but fall short on delivering a meaningful word. The encouragement to the believers at Ephesus is a practical summary of how the right words spoken at the right time can come together to grace someone’s life.
Like so many of the scriptural lessons, this is often easier said than done. And as communication via social media becomes more of a norm in society, it makes it even more difficult to excel at speaking the right word at the right time. Why? Because every moment is the right moment on social media – meaning we don’t have to give much consideration to timing when we don’t have to look the other person in the eye. This is not a call to ban communication via social media, it can be a helpful tool for our lives. We would do well, however, to acknowledge the challenges that this medium of communication poses to us in our effort to become the kind of person that graces others with the right words at the right time.
How can we transform ordinary words into a proverbial work of art for someone's soul? Practice may not make us perfect at it, but it is a good place to start. However, the real key is reliance on the Holy Spirit whom Jesus promised would guide all who are willing to let Him. The promise of Jesus is that the Holy Spirit will teach us all we need to know and remind us of what has been taught to us. (John 14:26) May we trust that those words of Jesus are true and that the Spirit of God desires to speak through us, to grow us, and use us to speak beautiful words of grace to others who need them.
Prayer for Today
Father, I thank you for your timeless word that you have preserved for us. May I put into practice the words of wisdom that you have left for me. Help me to be the kind of person that can transform ordinary words into truth and grace for the lives of the people you place in my path today. Teach me to be attentive to your Spirit as a guide for my life.