Years ago in Ohio I had a friend named Cliff. Cliff loved to hunt deer, especially during the bow season. At the time I was meeting with Cliff and his wife Amy every week to disciple them. They were young, eager Christians, just starting a family. Their oldest child was a beautiful little girl named Torrey.
Cliff was a teacher and a coach. In the autumn he would spend his afternoons in a tree stand enjoying the fall and waiting in silent enjoyment for deer until dusk. One evening I drove west, across rolling Knox Country, for our meeting enjoying the cool snap in the autumn evening and the slant of the light as the sun set beyond the trees. When I arrived at Cliff and Amy’s I noticed that Cliff had been successful at taking a nice deer. It was hanging in his yard.
I came up the back stairs and in the door. Amy welcomed me. Cliff was there and Torrey. Trying to be funny I said; “Cliff, I see you shot Bambi there.”
Immediately Torrey let out a bitter wail and began loud, inconsolable crying. Amy whisked her off to her room and I stood, shocked and embarrassed just inside the door. “I’m sorry, Cliff. I didn’t mean to upset her.”
“O, you didn’t know, Pastor, but I just spend the last half hour trying to convince her that the deer that I shot was not Bambi. As soon as I got her settled down you walked in, and for some reason, the first thing you said was, “Hey, I see you shot Bambi.”
Torrey must be a lovely teenager by now, hopefully she has recovered her early childhood emotional trama. Sometimes I seem to have a knack at saying just the wrong thing at just the wrong time.
It works the other way though sometimes and I love it when it does. Sometimes we can say just the right thing at just the right time, in just the right way, to jus the right person and it can make all the difference in the world. That’s what the book of Proverbs says; “A word spoken in due season is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.” I’m not sure I understand the apples and the pictures, but clearly the proverb is saying that a well-placed word is a very beautiful and very valuable thing.
Every day I ask the Lord that he will help my words to be beautiful and valuable to Him and to all who hear them. I want to be skilled in the use of good words.
I want to be skilled in the use of words to help others, like Isaiah said in what I believe is a prophetic reference to Christ: “The Lord GOD has given me the tongue of those who are taught, that I may know how to sustain with a word him who is weary. Morning by morning he awakens; he awakens my ear to hear as those who are taught.” (Isaiah 50:4 ESV)