Words have power. A pastor’s word has life-changing impact. He has power to impact people by the words he speaks. Power to heal. Power to kill. Power to encourage. Power to discourage. Power to build up. Power to tear down. I realised this recently.
I was talking to a well-dressed lady before the church service started. My supervisor introduced me as a church intern, headed for pastoral work. She was friendly, asking about my studies and calling. Then the conversation shifted. She shared with me that her oldest kid changed church, her second kid stopped coming to church, and her youngest kid was still active in church. She wondered, “How could my children turn out so different?”
At that moment, she seemed lost. Maybe disappointed. At that moment, she was looking for an answer. Something to explain her situation. Some truth to cling on to. Some handles to grasp life as if it were a slippery fish. She was looking for a word to speak into her life.
I felt a burden to speak “a word in season to him who is weary” (Isa 50:4 NKJV). What I said next could affect her deeply. She was desperate for answers, especially from one who supposedly knows more theology than her. A Pastor’s word must be carefully thought and delivered.
No wonder God granted Isaiah a “tongue of the learned” to sustain the weary person. May God grant us all wisdom in our words.
How can we acquire a learned tongue? We need to have a learned ear. The second half of Isaiah 50:4 says:
[God] awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens my ear to hear as the learned.
A learned ear precedes a learned tongue. We need to hear from God first before we can speak to others. Do you listen to God daily? Do you spend time with God in a quiet place to hear his still small voice? I think it is essential for those in ministry.
I encouraged the lady to keep on praying for her son’s salvation and return to God. I told them that God has his own timing that we may not know. May God continue to grant us a learned tongue to speak a life-sustaining word.