Practical Alternatives, LLC

About Dr. Wayne Evans
Insurance Coverage
Interviews and Articles
Contact Information


Fitting Words

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver." -Proverbs 25:11

During the creation narrative in Genesis 1:3, we see that nothing happened in the universe until God spoke.  God created His world with His word, and since we are made in His image and likeness (Genesis 1:26) we too can create worlds with our words.  What God's words do immediately our words can do eventually, so it is important that we understand the power tabernacled within our tongues.

This scripture in Proverbs speaks to the power of the right word at the right time.  The right word can often make the difference between victory and defeat; between joy and sorrow; between life and death.  The value of the right word is great in deed. But what is it that makes a thing valuable?  What brings value is how rare the object is.  And in this day and age, "a word fitly spoken" is rare indeed.  We live in a world of constant chatter; of sound bites, newsbreaks, and "expert" commentary.  It often comes from individuals who are shooting from the hip; men and women who often speak their entire mind, never bothering to turn on a filter (Proverbs 29:11; Proverbs 10:19).  They think they are being clever, cute, and charismatic, but often come off as crass, callous, and careless.  Hence the phase, "talk is cheap"

And to be sure, careless words are cheap.  Why?  Because careless words cost the speaker nothing.  The speaker does not have to take time to think or to make sure that what is said is true.  The speaker does not have to craft the words in a way that can be heard and understood by the listener.  No thought is given to presentation or precision; one simply takes a breath and speaks.  Sadly, what comes out is about as rare as fast food.  In other words, it is commonplace, ordinary, and of low quality.  That's why you pay $2.75 for a Big Mac and $27.50 for a filet mignon.

So, what is it that makes filet mignon so valuable?  The answer is quality and quantity.  First of all, you can only find it in a certain place on the animal, and the meat there is very tender.  Second, that area is not very big, so there is not that much of it.  Consequently, it is worth more than the other parts of the animal, which are higher in quantity, but are lower in quality.  What is also worth mentioning is how the filet mignon is presented.  When one orders an entre like filet mignon, great care is taken both in its preparation and presentation.  When it is served, it served with garnishes and comes on a plate.  Now just imagine; if that steak were served on a garbage can lid filled with dirt, grime, and maggots.  Tell me, are you going to accept that and eat it?  We need to be careful how we serve words and how we allow them to be served to us.

These are a few of the ideas we need to keep in mind as we encounter this text.  Listen to the writer's words; "a word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver." What I hear the writer saying is that fit words are very valuable, are placed very carefully, and are presented in a particular fashion.  The apples of gold do not stand by themselves. They are placed within a picture of silver.  Now, I have to park here parenthetically and say that oftentimes what makes or breaks our thoughts or words is the frame we choose to put them in.  Ask any art dealer and he or she will tell you that the value of a painting can go up or down based on the frame its in.  I believe that our words are the same way. 

When we say things is as important as what we say and how we say it; because the right    

thing, at the wrong time, is the wrong thing.  What is the context of our speech?  When are we saying it and why are we saying it?  Here is a really simple litmus test for our speech:  is what I am about to say true?  Is it kind?  Is it necessary?  If we cannot answer yes to all of these questions, we may need to rethink our words, because they will more than likely not be fitly spoken. 

In other words, they will not fit the listener well or serve their needs adequately.  They will not enrich the person nor will it be something they can use again.  Good counsel, powerful ideas, and words fitly spoken will stand the test of time.  They will not wear out or run down quickly like much of the empty rhetoric floating around on the airwaves today.  One only need look to Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech or remember President Kennedy's challenge "ask not what your country can do for you, but ask what can you do for your country," to appreciate the power of the right words at the right time. 

May we all strive to speak those words when we open our mouths and be able to discern those words when we open our ears. 

Dr. Wayne Evans