Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Mid-Week Message - Last Words

"A tree is identified by its fruit. If a tree is good, its fruit will be good. If a tree is bad, its fruit will be bad. You brood of snakes! How could evil men like you speak what is good and right? For whatever is in your heart determines what you say. A good person produces good things from the treasury of a good heart, and an evil person produces evil things from the treasury of an evil heart. And I tell you this, you must give an account on judgment day for every idle word you speak. The words you say will either acquit you or condemn you."  Matthew 12:33-37 (NLT)

Words.  Written or spoken, they carry much power.  Words can elicit tears or laughter.  They can calm situations or create riots.  They have the ability to grant or end lives.  At this time of year I think about the last words of our Savior as He was hanging upon the cross.  Every syllable He uttered had value for eternity.  He could have cursed his crucifiers but instead He asked God to forgive them.  He told the criminal on another cross that he would be with Him in paradise.  He addressed his mother.  He declared His thirst.  He asked His Father why He had been forsaken.  He said, "It is finished."  And He commended His spirit into His Father's hands.  

Last week a friend of mine said goodbye to his uncle and a friend.  Via Facebook, we commented on how any word we speak to someone may be the last.  We never know.  There are websites that list the last words of famous people.  Sometimes I wonder if they would have said what they said if they had known that they were the last words they would ever utter.  Then again, I wonder what my end words will be and whether they will be worth remembering.

When my Daddy died almost twelve years ago, I was devastated.  I got a call from my mother that morning stating that she could not awaken him.  I arrived at their home before the ambulance did and got him out of his chair, onto the floor and began CPR.  I did everything within my power, before the paramedics arrived, to sustain his life.  Neither I nor they were able to restart his heart.  After the initial sorrow, when I had time to think, the last words he ever spoke to me resonated in my heart.  They were, "I love you too, Karla.  Very much."  They were the last gifts he ever gave me and they are the dearest.  

As I spend time on social media and read the things that people post there, I wonder if they ever think that what they are posting might be the last thing they ever say.  Scripture instructs us to edify each other and to avoid unwholesome talk.  James tells us of the damage that the tongue can do.  My heart aches when some who profess to love Jesus use the same language as those who do not.  Profanity and innuendo abound in our society and it seems that each generation blurs the lines even more.  If we cannot even control our language, how do we expect to mirror Christ to a lost world?

As much as I wish I could eradicate certain words from the English vocabulary, I cannot.  All I can do is to control what I personally say and encourage others to do the same.  Young people especially need to understand the influence they have upon those around them.  If we truly love the Lord then we need to make sure that the things we speak reflect that love.  If we wouldn't say it in front of Him, then we shouldn't say it at all. 

What was the last word you shared?  Was it spoken orally, a text, a post on social media?  If that was the last thing you ever said, would you be happy with it?  Was it encouraging?  Did it carry a message that others would want to remember for a lifetime?  We never know when that last utterance will come.  My hope for myself is that it will be something that conveys the love of Jesus.  I can hope it but if I want to ensure it then I have to guard what I say at all times and pray that when that moment comes what leaves my mouth will be worth hearing.  God bless.

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