“E’en so Lord Jesus, quickly come / And night shall be no more. / They need no light nor lamp nor sun / For Christ will be their All,”- Paul Manz
“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow nor reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”- Matthew 6:26 (NIV)
Each spring for three consecutive years, this female robin and her mate migrate north to build their nest in the same spot. The junction box located in our condo’s sheltered parking structure. Over the course of several days, the pair construct the nest. And after they finish this collaborative effort, they perch in a nearby tree.
Although we know birds possess small brains, momma robin is one smart, tough birdie! With both wings in the air, so to speak! The west wall protects her from the prevailing winds. While smaller walls to the north and south offer added security. Consequently, mom faces east, the only open area. Above all, don’t mess with the nest. Our maintenance man once removed the nest, hoping the condo robins would relocate. Three days later — you guessed it — back in business, same spot!
The condo robins know that their nest building techniques and chirps matter. In his latest book, Please Sorry Thanks: The Three Words That Change Everything (2023), Mark Batterson stresses that words have a ripple effect. Therefore, your words matter. Most significantly, Mark asserts, you are a prophet. No matter what you do for a living. Your words carry weight, the power to speak life or speak death. To proclaim that night shall be no more. That Christ is your All!
In Hebrew, the phrase lashon hara denotes derogatory speech that damages another person. Thus, it’s expressly forbidden to speak or listen to such language. For example, God called Jeremiah to be a prophet. However, Jeremiah protested his lack of oratorical skills, as well as his lack of maturity. Thus, he spoke words contrary to God’s plan and purposes — lashon hara.
Evangelical theologian and Presbyterian pastor Frances Schaeffer once surmised the result of everyone wearing a voice recorder that captured all one’s conversations. If those conversations were made public for the whole world to hear, Schaeffer opined, we’d all go into hiding for the rest of our lives.
Hence, Pastor Batterson recommends an honest evaluation of your words. Think about what a transcript of your conversations would say about you. What words do you need to delete from your vocabulary? So, as you take inventory, consider whether your words:
- reconcile or divide.
- encourage or discourage.
- give people something to live up to or live down to.
- help or hurt.
- bless or curse.
Blessing represents the deepest longing of the human heart. Because it’s our oldest collective memory. After creating humankind in His image, God first blessed them. As a result, original blessing precedes original sin – a significant sequence. It sets the tone and the table for God’s default setting: blessing. God’s most ancient instinct, blessing = who God is and what He does. Ultimately, night shall be no more.
In conclusion, Mark asks, what comes to mind when you consider God’s posture toward you? What expression do you believe God wears on His face? What tone of voice does God use to speak to you? The truth: smile lines surround God’s eyes; He reaches toward you with arms wide open. Therefore, Pastor Batterson exhorts:
“You will become who you listen to! . . . We are profoundly shaped, for better or for worse, by what’s said about us. Why not give God the last word? While you’re at it, why not give God the first word?”