Friday, November 4, 2011

More Than Words

“Oh, Jesus, give me more than words.” – Jimmy Needham, “Come Around”

            I like words. I like words and I am good at using them. I know a lot of words and I like learning new ones. I love language.
            I like words. I like dictionaries and thesauri; I like obscure words; I like studying classes and categories of words; I like letters and punctuation and languages and alphabets and fonts and typography. I’m intrigued by orthography (which is a nifty word that means “spelling”) and etymology (which is a nifty word that means “the origin of words and phrases”). I’ve studied a couple of languages and I have a list of about a dozen or so other ones that I’d like to learn. I like sentences and paragraphs and stories and poems and books. I like words.
            God has given me a gift with words and language, but sometimes I don’t use it the way I should. Sometimes I try too hard. Sometimes I try to be clever with my words—sometimes I use words to try to seem clever to others, so that others will like me. Sometimes I take the gift that God has given me, and instead of using it to glorify him, I get hung up on myself, and I try to use it in a way that makes it all about me.
            I’m just being honest.

            The truth is that words can be powerful, but not all words are powerful—that is, not everything that’s said is powerful. And even of everything said that is powerful, not all of it is good or worth listening to. Not all of it is worth your attention.
            And if all you have is words, then words are not enough. At least, my words are not enough. There is Someone else whose words are enough, but that is not what I’m talking about here. Here I am talking about my words and your words. My words are not enough. Your words are not enough. And people will only be impressed with your words if you back them up with something more—if they are a reflection of the something more that you have to give them.
            If you really want to give people something wonderful, something that will change them, then give them what they need. And the something that they need more than all the words that could ever pour from your mouth or your pen…is love. It does not matter how impressive you think your words are. Even if your words are true, if you offer them in a manner devoid of love, no one will want them. Certainly no one will thank you for them, although being thanked shouldn’t be your object. But no one will want them, no one will use them, they will not change anyone, if you words are delivered without love. And truly, is a gift really a gift if it is not given in love?
            There is enough self-centered noise in this world. What the world needs is not mere words, but words and music and art and wisdom and all good things, delivered with love.

1 Corinthians 13:1
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.

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