December 15, 2022
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My wife had gotten a really nice wedding gift for our friend. This beautiful little serving dish and some cut glass and some silver. One of those things people get only at their wedding, usually. Well, here's the problem. The girl had been married for four years, and four years later, well, we found the present. Yeah, we put it behind a chair to get it out of the way one day, and we found it four years later. We had planned to have our daughter take it to the wedding for us. Well, we totally missed the time that you should give a gift like that.
I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Saying Good Things - While They Can Hear Them!"
Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Ephesians 4:29. It's excellent advice for improving and nurturing the relationships in your life. Here are God's words, "Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouth, but only what is useful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." Now God says the only words you ought to be speaking to people are those that will build them up. Give those people around you build-up encouragement, give them compliments and thank yous, and affirmations - the kind of things we usually say at their funeral.
I remember when my dad died and I stood by that casket - and some wonderful, wonderful things were said about him. All these people had wonderful praise for the kind of man my dad had been. Unfortunately, my dad couldn't hear any of them.
I remember when I went to the memorial service for a sixteen-year-old young man who had been killed by a hit-and-run driver, and these big old football players who'd been on the team with him went to the microphone one after the other and they just... well, they tearfully told what a great friend he had been. And they praised him for a lot of great qualities. I could only hope that they had said those things when he could hear them. Why don't we give people their flowers when they can still smell them? Your family, your friends, your spiritual leaders, your spiritual helpers? They need encouragement today and you have the power to give that powerful gift.
Proverbs 18:21 says, "The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit." You see, we can give people life sentences, because the tongue has the power of life. We can give them death sentences; things that make them feel more alive like compliments, praise, encouragement, or things that make them feel like they're dying inside like put-downs and criticism. How are you doing giving those life sentences each day to the people in your world?
Too often we make the same mistake that my wife and I made with the gift for that young bride; we waited too long to give the gift. Some of us have people who are gone now that we wish we could have back for like ten minutes just so we could tell them we love them, give them our appreciation. But we can't have them back.
What we can do is determine that the people who are still here will hear our love, hear our encouragement, hear our apology or our forgiveness. They'll hear our praise, often! They need your gift right now. We never know how long someone will be here for us to give those emotional gifts; those gifts that could mean so much.
The days are flying by and I'll bet there is someone whose gift, maybe, has been sitting on the shelf. Give them your love, now! Don't wait for the funeral to say what's in your heart right now.