As I’m typing this, I can’t talk above a whisper. Literally. I have laryngitis. Since last Sunday night my voice has been missing in action, which, as a pastor...is a little disconcerting!
I was amazed to hear though that it happens frequently to almost a lot of pastors. At Pastors’ Conference on Monday we joked about how it’s God’s way of making you a better listener. But it reminded me of something. When you were a kid did you ever play a silly game where you asked a question like, “If you had to choose, which ability would you rather lose…seeing, hearing, smelling, talking...those sort of things?” It’s kind of the opposite of the question, “If you could have any super power what would it be?”
As I sit muted this week, I've found myself musing about these types of things and it got me to thinking, “Would other people be happy if I couldn’t talk to them again?” Now I know you’re thinking that’s a ridiculous question. You’re here to listen to me talk every week so you must have at least a general sense that what I say is beneficial to you...I hope!
But take me away from church. Would my neighbors be happy if I couldn’t talk to them again? Would my coworkers like Pastor Andy and Cassy be happy if I couldn’t talk to them again? How about my wife? Have you ever asked those questions honestly about yourself? “Would other people be happy if I couldn’t talk to them again?”
It was kind of funny. Wednesday this past week was Sarah’s birthday and I had planned for a month to take her out for a night on the town. So I still did. But I couldn’t really talk. I just had to look her in the eyes, smile, listen, nod. Ironically…probably just the things that make her feel closest to me!
You know Bible has a lot to say about what we say when we open our mouths. It really has everything to do with whether we use our words to build people up or tear people down. Listen to these words from Ephesians 4:29: “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.”
In other words when we open our mouths to talk, God wants us to ask, “Is this going to build this person up and thus benefit this person…or is this going to tear them down and destroy this person?” If this all just came naturally, we wouldn’t need God to tell us in his Word…and sometimes a few days without a voice can be a good opportunity to think about such things.
So, that said (or rather...typed!), hopefully I get my voice back soon and I get back to building people up. But I also look forward to listening next Sunday to Pastor Andy preach as he wraps up our current sermon series, “Experience the Power of the Light.”
Have a great week in the Lord!