When my husband and I volunteered at the Youth With a Mission (YWAM) base in Kona, Hawaii, a few years ago, we would walk by a huge plumeria tree on the way to work every day. Hundreds of blossoms lay scattered on the sidewalk, and I couldn’t resist picking up several of them at a time before they were trampled underfoot. Their exquisite, waxy perfection would last all day. No wonder hula dancers wear them in their hair, tucked behind an ear.
I soon got the idea of blessing others with them. I would leave blossoms in the booth where I admitted vehicles at the main gate, for the next shift worker to admire. In quiet moments in the booth, I even strung them on dental floss and suspended them near the window to sway in the breeze. Some blossoms graced the counter at the outdoor hospitality centre, and some were added to the buffet table, along with the inspirational quote that was often displayed there.
“Pleasant words are like a honeycomb, sweetness to the soul and health to the body.”(Proverbs 16:24 NRSVA)
Even better than sharing blossoms is sharing pleasant words. Sincerely saying “God bless you” to others is really a prayer spoken over them, bringing health to body and soul. We speak pleasant words when we wish someone a happy birthday by card, phone call, or text, on Facebook, or by singing to them.
“Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a word spoken at the right time.”(Proverbs 25:11 AMP)
At a family gathering the other day, I listened carefully as a great-grandmother, whom we hadn’t seen for a while, spoke with such love to each great-grandchild who approached her. She heaped encouraging words on them and talked freely about making Jesus a part of their everyday lives. I’m sure that I was more inspired and encouraged by her example than the children, who hadn’t yet realized the full value of their great-grandmother’s words, absorbing them merely by a sort of osmosis.
However, it’s easier for me to write pleasant words than to speak them to people face-to-face. When I write, I can take my time, choosing my words, and rearranging them easily if they don’t sound quite right. God arranged that a birthday card that I once received was appropriately illustrated with plumeria blossoms. A friend had written her own personal message in it. This reminded me of the importance of speaking pleasant words while a person is still alive. Let’s not save those pleasant words for funeral eulogies! People need to hear them during their lifetime.
“Let your conversation be gracious and attractive so that you will have the right response for everyone.”(Colossians 4:6 NLT)
Let’s remember the prolific plumeria tree with its beautiful blossoms, and take as our goals to be more focused and intentional in our speech and to remember to sprinkle more liberally pleasant and appropriate words in our conversations.
Prayer: Lord, help us to learn to use inspiring and encouraging words as we speak with others. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.
Alice Burnett <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Red Deer, Alberta, Canada