Tag: Words

Shaped by words


Years ago someone made an observation about words and called it a study. Then, that apocryphal assertion took on a life of its own.

“Studies show that women use 10,000 to 15,000 words a day. Men use 4,000 to 6,000 words a day on average, so by the time men come home from work, they’ve used up their words. And women have at least 5,000 left.”

Great communicators, good conversationalists, coaches, counselors, teachers, singers, reporters, and writers, and learn to be wordsmiths. For them, it’s not about the number of words, it’s about meaning and intention and revelation.

Words mean something. These building-blocks of language are more than a collection of letters. They are seeds of life. The Apostle John introduces Jesus as the WORD of God. This WORD comes to earth as the expression of everything that is God, He is meaning, intention, and revelation…and HE is filled with life, more than we can read or hear or count.

In a personal, one-on-one, conversation Jesus used familiar words to explain Kingdom truth. He reveled that to see God’s Kingdom, you have to be born again. New words, new meaning, new revelation. The seeds of faith were planted and the Kingdom opened. As one of the Sanhedrin, Nicodemus was out numbered and out voted, but he never forgot those words of life.

That conversation rocked his world. The words, “born again” hung in the air like the smell of fresh mowed grass. Those words changed his vision and shaped his future.


Mark was a student at St. Mary’s School in St. Paul, Minnesota. He was one of those students you couldn’t help but love.

One Friday everything seemed to be going wrong. Mark’s teacher remembers, “We had worked all week on this new concept of math. I saw that the students were frustrated and discouraged. I had to stop this crankiness before it got out of hand, so I suggested a break. I asked them to make a list of names of students in the class and to leave a space between each name.” The teacher asked each student to think of the nicest things they could say about each of their classmates and write it down. That little exercise chewed up the remainder of the class time.

On Saturday the teacher wrote down the name of each student on a separate piece of paper and then she listed what everyone had said about that individual. On Monday she gave each student his or her list.

No one ever mentioned those papers in class again. The group of students moved on, and so did the teacher.

Years passed, then one night while coming home after a long trip, the teacher learned that Mark had been killed in Viet Nam. The funeral was the next day, and his parents wanted her to attend.

“One by one those of us who loved Mark walked by the coffin. I was one of the last to walk by. One of the pallbearers asked if I was Mark’s math teacher. I nodded, as I continued to stare at the coffin. ‘Mark talked a lot about you,’ the soldier said.”

After the funeral, most of Mark’s former classmates gathered at his old house. “We want to show you something,” Mark’s mother whispered to the teacher. “They found this paper inside Mark’s wallet.” The old notebook paper had been taped and folded and re-taped many times. It was that old list they had made in math class. Mark’s mother continued, “Thank you for doing that. As you can see, he treasured it.”

Mark’s classmates gathered around. Charlie smiled sheepishly and said, “I still have my list in the top drawer of my desk at home.”

Chuck’s wife said that Chuck had asked her to put his in their wedding album.

“And I have mine, too,” Marilyn said. “It’s in my diary.”

Vickie reached into her purse and pulled out her wallet and showed her torn list from the class. “I think we all kept our lists.”

Mark’s teacher was remembered, not because they learned math skills, but because she helped them experience the power of a few well chosen words.

Words mean something!


Do you remember some words that shaped your future–seeds that pointed you to new life, to new birth?

I have already prayed that God will open your eye’s to see the Kingdom and that HE will give you opportunities this week to speak or write words that become seeds of faith, seeds that grow deep into hearts and open Kingdom doors for others.

Word have lasting power. They can be seeds that change the future, predictive and empowering. You can carry them with you long after they are spoken, or written. So, use them wisely.

Maybe, just maybe it’s time to make a list.

March 11, 2012 | 0 Comments More